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Russian takeover of Lysychansk only a matter of time: Press TV correspondent

A file photo shows a local resident pushing a wheelbarrow past a heavily damaged apartment building in Mariupol, Ukraine. (Via Reuters)

A Press TV correspondent says it is only a matter of time until Russian forces take Ukraine's strategic city of Lysychansk, the twin city of Severodonetsk in the Donbass, as Moscow pushes ahead to capture the entire eastern Ukrainian region.

"The Russian army at the moment, they say they have taken about a third of Lysychansk. It is of course the twin city of Severodonetsk. That battle went on for a couple of weeks there. It looks like this battle for Lysychansk will not take as long. It looks like the Russians inevitably will take it," Johnny Miller said on Wednesday from the center of Donetsk, where he is currently to cover the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

"Much of the Ukrainian army has withdrawn, but they are putting up still a fierce resistance in that city. But it looks like only a matter of time for the Russians to take it," he added.

The Press TV correspondent said that since the Russians have overwhelming superiority in artillery, the Ukrainians don't have much of a chance to continue their defense.

Miller said the Russians may push ahead to take control of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk after seizing Lysychansk, to complete their takeover of the entire Donbass.

Russia's military has seized the key Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk after weeks of fierce fighting. Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said on Saturday that Ukrainian troops have "almost left" the heavily contested eastern city.

Severodonetsk had been the epicenter of the battles in eastern Ukraine for control over the industrialized Donbass region, made up of the Lugansk and Donetsk provinces.

The governor of the Lugansk region, Sergiy Gaiday, said on Saturday that Russian forces are advancing on Lysychansk.

After taking control of Lugansk, the Russians would be able to push further into Ukraine's industrial heartland of the Donbass.

Back in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing breakaway Lugansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine as independent republics. Russia launched the military offensive in Ukraine on February 24. At the time, the Russian president said one of the goals of what he called a "special military operation" was to "de-Nazify" Ukraine.

The military operation has led to heightened tensions between Russia and the West, with the United States and its allies slapping unprecedented sanctions on Moscow.

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