It is a symbolic advance, if it is proven.
This Saturday, separatists backed by the Russian army claimed to have "totally" surrounded Lyssytchansk, in eastern Ukraine, a key city at the heart of intense fighting in recent days.
Read alsoUkraine: why Russia is targeting Lyssychansk, the last city standing in the Luhansk region
"Today, the Luhansk People's Militia (
the separatist army
) and the Russian armed forces occupied the last strategic heights, which allows us to affirm that the locality of Lysychansk is completely surrounded", indicated a representative of the separatist army of Luhansk, Andrei Marotchko, quoted by the Russian news agency TASS.
A strategic city
Lyssychansk is the last major city in the Luhansk region controlled by the Ukrainian army.
It is the twin of that of Sieverodonetsk, conquered last week by Moscow after the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces after a battle lasting several weeks.
The two towns are only separated by the Donets River.
The capture of Lyssytchansk would allow the Russian army to then advance towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, two other large cities in the industrial region of Donbass, which Moscow is seeking to conquer.