Ukraine has encircled Russian forces around the key Moscow stronghold in the eastern city of Lyman, which is still ongoing, a Ukrainian military spokesman said on Saturday, Reuters reported.
Ukrainian army in eastern UkrainePhoto: ARIS MESSINIS/ AFP/ Profimedia Images
The capture of the city, which Russia has used as a logistical and transport hub for its operations in the northern Donetsk region, would represent another major setback to the Kremlin’s plans to capture the entire Donbas industrial region.
Russian forces in Lyman totaled 5,000-5,500 troops, but Sergei Serevaty, a spokesman for Ukrainian forces in the east, said the number of encircled troops may have decreased due to casualties and some soldiers trying to escape.
Russian troops are also making unsuccessful attempts to break out of the encirclement.
“Some are surrendering, they have a lot of dead and wounded, but the operation is not over yet,” said a spokesman for the forces in eastern Ukraine.
Lyman’s capture would open new frontiers in the Luhansk region, which was illegally annexed by Putin.
He added that the move around Lyman would allow Ukrainian troops to advance into the Luhansk region.
“Lyman is important because it is the next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbass. It is an opportunity to go further towards Kreminna and Severodonetsk, and it is very important from a psychological point of view,” Serevaty said.
A Ukrainian soldier filmed himself “greeting” Russian soldiers surrounded in the city during the operation, The Kyiv Post reported.
ISW said in its latest analysis that Ukrainian forces are likely to encircle and capture Lyman within 3 days. Russian forces continued to withdraw from positions around Lyman, while Ukrainian forces continued to encircle Russian troops in the area.
Many Russian military bloggers said the Russian withdrawal from Lyman resembled the chaotic retreat from Balaklia, Kharkiv Oblast, due to poor coordination and lack of artillery support, ISW said.
In the past 24 hours, Ukrainian troops captured two settlements near the strategic city of Lyman during a counter-offensive by Kyiv in a further humiliation of the Russian armed forces.
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