Вид на сильно поврежденный многоквартирный дом в Северодонецке.

Вид на сильно поврежденный многоквартирный дом в Северодонецке.

Reuters: Russian forces in Ukraine will focus on trying to seize all of the Donetsk region, having forced Ukrainian troops to withdraw from the last major city under their control in the neighbouring Luhansk region, the governor of Luhansk said on Monday.

After abandoning an assault on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, during the early weeks of the war, Russia concentrated its military operation on the industrial Donbas heartland that comprises the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, where Moscow-backed separatist proxies have been fighting Ukraine since 2014.

Russia said it had established full control over the Luhanskregion after Ukrainian forces pulled out of the bombed-out city of Lysychansk.

"In terms of the military, it is bad to leave positions, butthere is nothing critical (in the loss of Lysychansk). We needto win the war, not the battle for Lysychansk," Governor Serhiy Gaidai told Reuters in an interview.

"It hurts a lot, but it's not losing the war."

He said the withdrawal from Lysychansk had been"centralised", indicating that it had been planned and orderly,but that Ukrainian forces had risked being surrounded.

"Still, for them (Russian forces) goal number 1 is theDonetsk region. Sloviansk and Bakhmut will come under attack -Bakhmut has already started being shelled very hard," he said.

Gaidai said that he expected the city of Sloviansk and the town of Bakhmut in particular to come under attack as Russia tries to take full control of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow said the capture of Lysychansk less than a week after taking neighbouring Sievierdonetsk meant it had "liberated" Luhansk, a major Kremlin war goal.

Moscow said it would give the captured territory to the self-proclaimed Russian-backed Luhansk People's Republic whose independence it recognised on the eve of the war.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Sunday night vowed to regain the lost territory with the help of long-range Western weapons.

Zelenskiy said Russia was concentrating its firepower on the Donbas front, but Ukraine would hit back with long-range weapons such as the U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket launchers.

"The fact that we protect the lives of our soldiers, our people, plays an equally important role. We will rebuild the walls, we will win back the land, and people must be protected above all else," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

In Sloviansk, west of Lysychansk in Donetsk region, Mayor Vadym Lyakh wrote on Facebook that on Sunday fierce shelling had killed at least six people, including a 10-year-old girl.

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