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Ukraine separatists claim they have encircled Lysychansk: Reports

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Ukrainian separatists backed by Russia Saturday said they had “completely” encircled the key city of Lysychansk in the eastern Lugansk region.

“Today the Lugansk popular militia and Russian forces occupied the last strategic heights, which allows us to confirm that Lysychansk is completely encircled,” Andrei Marotchko, a spokesman for the separatist forces, told the TASS news agency.

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Capturing the city would allow the Russians to push deeper into the wider eastern region of the Donbas, which has become the focus of their offensive since failing to capture Kyiv after launching their military operation in Ukraine in late February.

Across the Donets river, the Russians captured the neighboring city Severodonetsk last week.

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