KYIV: Russian forces have captured the settlements of Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka south of Ukraine's cities of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk, which are the focus of the Russian offensive in the region, Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Thursday.

Ukrainian forces continue the defence of Sievierodonetsk and the nearby settlements of Zolote and Vovchoyrovka, he said. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)