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MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to press ahead with Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine after troops took control of the entire Lugansk region.

“Military units, including the East group and the West group, must carry out their tasks according to previously approved plans,” Putin told Shoigu.

“I hope that everything will continue in their direction as has happened in Lugansk so far.”

Shoigu told Putin this weekend that Moscow’s forces were now in full control of the Lugansk region, a major victory for the Kremlin more than four months after its leader sent troops into Ukraine.

Turkey halts Russian ship, investigates Ukrainian claims

Putin said on Monday that troops that took part in the Lugansk campaign should “rest and rebuild their combat capabilities”.

After giving up on its initial aim of capturing the capital, Kyiv, following tough Ukrainian resistance, Russia has focused its efforts on securing full control of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine.

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