Russia claims major victory after 'taking control' of entire Ukrainian region

Russia claims it has captured the Luhansk region of Ukraine in its entirety.

If confirmed by Kyiv, the development would mark a symbolic milestone in the Kremlin’s campaign to annex the east of the country.

Luhansk makes up one half of the Donbas region, the traditionally Russian-speaking part of Ukraine Vladimir Putin claims he is fighting to ‘liberate’.

Fierce fighting has been raging across the oblast for months, with the fate of the area coming down to the battle for Lysychansk.

Ukrainian soldiers had reportedly started to pull out of the last remaining town under their control in recent days under brutal bombardment from invading troops.

Defence minister Sergei Shoigu told Mr Putin the oblast has been ‘liberated’ by Kremlin and separatist forces, the defence ministry claimed.

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