‘We need to break them … we have no alternative,’ warns Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his armed forces were undeterred in their efforts to “break” Moscow’s will to pursue a nearly five-month war.

It comes as Russia’s Vladimir Putin hailed his military’s victory in the grueling battle of Luhansk.

Russia captured the city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, bringing an end to one of the biggest battles in Europe in generations and completing its conquest of Luhansk province, one of two regions it has demanded Ukraine cede to separatists in the Donbas region.

With the war entering its next phase, Ukrainian forces took up new defensive lines in the eastern part of the country.

In his nightly video message, Mr Zelensky said: “There have been no significant changes on the battlefield in the past 24 hours.

“The Armed Forces of Ukraine respond, push back and destroy the offensive potential of the occupiers day after day. We need to break them. It is a difficult task. It requires time and superhuman efforts. But we have no alternative.”

Earlier in the day, Putin congratulated Russian forces on “victories in the Luhansk direction”. Participants in that combat should “absolutely rest and recover their military preparedness”, while units in other areas keep fighting, the Russian president said in a brief televised meeting with his defence minister.

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