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The claim was made by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War said on July 2 that Ukrainian forces had likely deliberately withdrawn from Lysychansk, the last major Ukrainian stronghold in Luhansk Oblast. This appears to be an effort to avoid an encirclement of Ukrainian troops. Ukraine has not yet confirmed the loss of Lysychansk but Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai said that Russian troops had gained a foothold in Lysychansk and destroyed the city's administrative buildings.