KYIV (Reuters) - Russian forces have captured several settlements near the embattled cities of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk region, the regional governor and Ukraine's general staff said on Tuesday.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukraine's national broadcaster that Russian forces had captured the settlement of Toshkivka to the south of Sievierodonetsk, confirming previous reports.
"Unfortunately, the enemy threw at it huge amounts of armaments and soldiers and captured Toshkivka," Gaidai said.
Russian-backed separatist forces in Ukraine claimed on Monday to have taken Toshkivka.
Russian and Ukraine forces have been fighting for weeks for control of Sievierodonetsk.
Ukraine's general staff said in its daily report that Russian forces had also captured the settlements of Pidlisne and Myrna Dolyna, located to the south of Lysychansk.
Ukrainian soldiers defending Lysychansk have come under intense shelling by Russian heavy artillery but are holding their ground, Gaidai said.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets, writing by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Gareth Jones)