Three Russian cosmonauts raised the flags of the self-declared breakaway Ukraine’s Lugansk and Donetsk regions aboard the International Space Station, according to a post on the Russian space agency’s Telegram channel, Roscosmos.
• Read also: Pro-Russian separatists say they have surrounded Lyschansk in Ukraine
“We celebrate on Earth and in space,” said a message accompanied by photos of cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveshev and Sergey Korsakov waving the flags of these two “republics” in eastern Ukraine aboard the International Space Station.
They said that “Russian and Luhansk forces have taken complete control of Lysechansk – the last major city of the Lugansk People’s Republic.”
On Sunday, Ukrainian forces announced their withdrawal from this strategic city, allowing the Russian army and pro-Russian separatists to complete their control of the Lugansk region.
We are convinced that July 3, 2022 will forever be engraved in the history of the Republic. Citizens of the Allied Donetsk People’s Republic, wait! Roscosmos added in his letter.
The capture of Lysytchansk was key to Russia’s plan to conquer all of the Donbass industrial basin, an industrial basin that has been partly controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
For the Ukrainian forces, the urgent need now was to contain the Russian advance to the west and two major cities in the neighboring Donetsk region: Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
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