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Senior Ukrainian officers left Kupyansk as Russian forces advance, lawmaker says

Viktor Vodolatsky said the flight of Ukrainian officers and officials from Kupyansk was a signal to Ukrainian soldiers who continued to stay in the city

LUGANSK, February 19. /TASS/. Top Ukrainian officers and local officials have left the town of Kupyansk in the Kharkov Region as Russian forces are making headway, Russian lawmaker Viktor Vodolatsky told TASS.

"We are mowing down their fortifications. We are moving forward there. Nothing can stop our armed forces from making sure that Kupyansk also returns into Russia’s fold. All the top officers who staffed the headquarters there have already fled. All the headquarters have moved beyond Kupyansk. And the officials who came from Kiev and western Ukraine to run Kupyansk and the surrounding district have also fled Kupyansk after loading their cars with looted property," said the lawmaker, who is in charge of maintaining ties with the legislature of the Lugansk People’s Republic.

Vodolatsky said the flight of Ukrainian officers and officials from Kupyansk is a signal to Ukrainian soldiers who continue to stay in the city.

"The best thing for them is to surrender," he said.

The lawmaker added that the advancement of Russian forces in the area will bring down the intensity of shelling by Ukrainian troops.

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian forces had repelled six Ukrainian attacks in the Kupyansk area over the past day, with the enemy losing up to 30 military servicemen and 11 pieces of equipment, including a German-made Leopard tank and a Polish-made Krab howitzer.