Russians claim success as Ukrainian forces killed about 35,970 invaders

Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu has informed Vladimir Putin that Kremlin troops have captured Lysychansk and nearby settlements, largest of which are Belogorovka, Novodruzhesk, Maloryazantsevo, and Belaya Gora, calling it the “liberation of the Luhansk People’s Republic.”

“As Army General Sergei Shoigu reported, as a result of successful military operations, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, together with units of the People’s Militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic, have established full control over the city of Lisichansk and a number of nearby settlements, the largest of which are Belogorovka, Novodruzhesk, Maloryazantsevo, and Belaya Gora. The total area of ​​liberated territories in the last 24 hours amounted to 182 square kilometers,” said a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry.

The announcement signals the achievement of one major goal of the Russian invasion but claims that the Kremlin controls major parts of southern Ukraine can be hardly called sustainable. of Ukrainian territory.

A previous claim by pro-Russian separatists said that Ukrainian forces in Lysychansk had been surrounded but American analysts believe it is likely that Ukrainian forces conducted a deliberate withdrawal from the city, prior to the Russian seizure.

“Geolocated footage showed Russian forces casually walking around northern and southeastern neighborhoods in Lysychansk in a way that suggests that there are few or no remaining Ukrainian forces in the city as of July 2,” said a report by Kateryna Stepanenko and other researchers at Institute for the Study of War (ISW) at The George Washington University.

“A Ukrainian withdrawal to Siversk would allow Ukrainian forces to reduce the risk of immediate encirclement, but Ukrainian forces may continue a fighting withdrawal to a line near the E40 highway from Slovyansk to Bakhmut,” said the ISW report.

Russian forces continued unsuccessful ground assaults north of Slovyansk, a town thought to be critical to Moscow’s objective of capturing all of eastern Ukraine due to its west-central location.

Ukrainian troops are likely planning to threaten the invaders’ ground lines of communication throughout Kharkiv Oblast using Western-supplied weapons as counterattacks and partisan activity continue to force Russian troops to prioritize defensive operations along the Southern Axis.

Lysychansk, the last major Ukrainian-held city in Luhansk, would put Russia closer to its goal of controlling Ukraine’s entire Donbas region — Luhansk and Donestsk. Proxy leadership may be setting conditions for the direct annexation of those rebel republics by the Russian Federation.

Ukraine’s government hasn’t commented on the situation.

Explosions in the Russian city of Belgorod, about 25 miles north of the border with Ukraine, killed three people and damaged dozens of buildings overnight.

On July 3, explosions killed at least four people and destroyed 50 buildings in Belgorod

The Russian Defense Ministry of reported that Ukraine launched a strike on Belgorod and Kursk, home to the 14th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment. The attacks were carried out using Tochka-U missiles with cluster munitions and Tu-143 drones.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said its forces have killed about 35,970 Russian soldiers since the invasion began on February 24.

Ukrainian defenders also destroyed 1,584 Russian tanks, 3,744 armored fighting vehicles, 801 artillery systems, 246 multiple launch rocket systems, 105 air defense systems, 217 warplanes, 187 helicopters, 654 operational and tactical level UAVs, 144 cruise missiles, 15 warships/boats, 2,618 (+4) other vehicles and tanker trucks, and 64 pieces of special equipment.

Ukraine plans to unveil a blueprint for rebuilding the country that could mobilize hundreds of billions of euros as the nation continues to grapple with Russia’s invasion.

European officials worry that Russian disinformation on the source of food shortages is gaining traction in Africa.

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