Russian cosmonauts celebrate capture of Luhansk region from International Space Station

Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station  were today pictured celebrating the Kremlin's capture of the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency,  shared images of cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergei Korsakov smiling as they held up flags belonging to the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic and Donetsk People's Republic.

The agency also described Moscow's capture as "a liberation day to celebrate both on Earth and in space".

In a statement on the Telegram messaging app, the agency wrote: "This is a long-awaited day that residents of the occupied areas of the Luhansk region have been waiting for eight years. We are confident that 3 July 2022 will forever go down in the history of the republic.

"Citizens of the allied Donetsk People's Republic, wait!"

Yesterday, Russia announced it had gained full control over the Luhansk region after capturing its last major city, Lysychansk.

It had been Ukraine's last bastion in the eastern province of Luhansk and the subject of fierce fighting in recent days.

Following the city's capture, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed that Ukrainian forces would retake the key city.

"If the commanders of our army withdraw people from certain points at the front, where the enemy has the greatest advantage in firepower, and this also applies to Lysychansk, it means only one thing," Mr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address."That we will return thanks to our tactics, thanks to the increase in the supply of modern weapons."