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Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu

July 4, 2022, The Kremlin, Moscow

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,

Since June 19, formations and units of the Centre Group under the command of Colonel General Alexander Lapin, in co-operation with units of the Second People's Militia Corps of the Lugansk People's Republic and supported by the southern group of forces led by Army General Sergei Surovikin, have successfully carried out an offensive operation to liberate the Lugansk People's Republic.

Within two weeks, they encircled and destroyed the groups in the Gorskoye cauldron, around Lisichansk and Severodonetsk. Twenty-five localities have been taken under control, the largest of which are Severodonetsk, Zolotoye, Gorskoye and Volcheyarovka. The operation ended yesterday with the liberation of Lisichansk, one of the largest towns in the Lugansk People's Republic. A total of 670 square kilometres of territory were taken under control during the active offensive.

The total losses of the Ukrainian armed forces amounted to 5,469 personnel, including 2,218 killed and 3,251 wounded; 196 tanks and other armoured vehicles, 12 aircraft, one helicopter, 69 drones, six long-range surface-to-air missile systems, 97 multiple rocket launchers, 166 field and mortar artillery pieces and 216 vehicles of various purposes.

When retreating from Lisichansk, the enemy abandoned 39 tanks and other armoured vehicles, 11 guns and mortars, 48 Javelins and NLAW anti-tank missile systems, 18 Stinger systems, and three unmanned aerial vehicles.

Today the demining of the city of Lisichansk and its environs is underway, as is the delivery of humanitarian cargo, as well as the provision of medical assistance to civilians.

The Russian Armed Forces are continuing the special military operation.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good. Thank you.

As you know, Colonel General Alexander Lapin and Army General Sergei Surovikin also reported to me today on the progress in fulfilling their tasks and presented their proposals for the development of offensive operations. Both the Defence Ministry and the General Staff are considering the proposals of the field commanders.

The units that took part in active combat operations and achieved success and victories in the Lugansk direction, of course, should rest and build up their combat capabilities. Other military formations, including the East Group and the West Group, must carry out their tasks according to the previously approved plans, according to the single scheme, and I hope that everything will happen in their directions in the same way as it has happened in Lugansk.

I agree with your proposal to award Commander of the Centre Group Colonel General Lapin and Deputy Commander of the 8th Army of the Southern Military District Major General Abachev the title of Hero of Russia. The corresponding Presidential Executive Order will be signed today.

I would also ask you to recommend for state decorations all military personnel who distinguished themselves in the course of these combat operations. Based on your daily reports, I know that the Russian army has many such brave, professional soldiers, daring – in a good way – warriors, and they should all be honoured with corresponding state decorations of their Motherland.

My congratulations and words of gratitude also go to the soldiers of the 2nd Army Corps of the LPR People's Militia. I know that they worked actively and competently, too, and showed courage and heroism in the truest sense of the word, when liberating their native land.

I congratulate all of you and wish you further success.

Thank you.

July 4, 2022, The Kremlin, Moscow