Putin orders Russian troops to fight on after key Ukraine city taken
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Putin orders Russian troops to fight on after key Ukraine city taken

President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered Russian troops to press their offensive deeper into the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine after Moscow’s forces seized the strategic city of Lysychansk.

With the war now well into its fifth month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, governments and organizations gathered for a conference in Switzerland to launch a plan to rebuild the country even as the conflict shows no sign of abating.

The loss of Lysychansk over the weekend prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to step up calls for an increased supply of weapons from the West so Kyiv can keep up the resistance and regain lost territories.

After giving up on its initial war aim of capturing Kyiv following tough Ukrainian resistance, Russia has focused its efforts on securing control of the Donetsk and Lugansk areas which make up the Donbas region.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin at a meeting that Moscow’s forces were now in full control of the Lugansk region.

In a sign there would be no let-up in the fighting and that Russia now had its eyes on the entire Donetsk region, Putin told Shoigu that troops stationed there must continue their operations.

“Military units, including the East group and the West group, must carry out their tasks according to previously approved plans,” Putin said.

“I hope that everything will continue in their direction as has happened in Lugansk so far.”

The Ukrainian army said on Sunday it was retreating from Lysychansk to preserve the lives of its troops after finding itself outnumbered and outgunned by Russian forces there.