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Luhansk will be Russia's 'last victory', the Ukrainians are expected to launch a counteroffensive in the south
Ukrainian troops hope to launch a counter-offensive in the south of the country after Russian forces overran the eastern town of Lysychansk.
Since the beginning of the conflict, Russia has demanded that Ukraine hand over Luhansk and Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, to pro-Moscow separatists.
However, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said the cities were "medium" and would be Russia's last victory in Ukraine.
He also said that Ukraine now hopes to launch counter-offensives in the south of the country.
"This is the last victory for Russia on Ukrainian territory. These were medium-sized cities. And this lasted from April 4 to July 4, that's 90 days. So many losses," the adviser added.
It also stated that: “Taking the cities in the east means that 60% of Russian forces are now concentrated in the east and it is difficult for them to redirect south.
And there are no more forces that can be brought from Russia. They paid a heavy price for Severodonetsk and Lysychansk."
The capture of the city of Lysychansk on Sunday ended the Russian occupation of Luhansk, one of two regions in Donbas, and Russian forces have already set their next targets in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk province.
Serhiy Haidai, the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk, admitted that his entire province was now effectively in Russian hands, but said: "We must win the war, not the battle for Lysychansk. It hurts a lot, but it is not a loss of the war."
This morning, Ukrainian forces took up new defensive lines in Donetsk, where they still control major cities, after Vladimir Putin told his troops to "absolutely rest and recover their military readiness" while telling units in areas of others to continue the fight.