Ukraine claimed full control of the eastern logistics hub of Lyman on Sunday, kyiv’s biggest battlefield gain in weeks, providing a potential launching point for further attacks to the east. while increasing pressure on the Kremlin.
The harsh setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin came after he on Friday proclaimed the annexation of four regions covering almost a fifth of Ukraine, an area that includes Lyman. kyiv and the West have condemned the proclamation as an illegitimate farce.
“As of 1230 (0930 GMT), Lyman is completely clear,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a short video on his Telegram channel. “Thanks to our troops (…) Glory to Ukraine!”
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that it was withdrawing troops from the area.
He did not mention the city in his daily update on the fighting in Ukraine on Sunday, though he said Russian forces had destroyed seven artillery and missile depots in the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Donetsk regions of Ukraine.
Russian forces captured Lyman from Ukraine in May and had used it as a transportation and logistics hub for their operations in the northern Donetsk region. Losing her is Russia’s biggest battlefield loss since Ukraine’s blitz counter-offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region last month.
Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Donetsk’s neighboring Luhansk region, said control of Lyman could be a “key factor” in helping Ukraine regain lost territory in his region, the total capture of which Moscow announced in early July after of weeks of dizzying progress.
El Ministerio de Defensa británico calificó a Lyman de importante desde el punto de vista operacional, ya que controla un cruce de carretera clave sobre el río Siverskyi Donets, detrás del cual Rusia ha estado intentando consolidar sus defensas.
Es probable que Rusia haya sufrido muchas bajas durante la retirada, dijo el ministerio en un comunicado. Rusia tenía entre 5.000 y 5.500 soldados en la ciudad antes del ataque ucraniano, dijo el sábado un portavoz de las fuerzas orientales de Ucrania.
Las zonas que Putin reclamó como anexionadas -las regiones de Donetsk y Luhansk, además de Kherson y Zaporizhzhia en el sur- forman una franja de territorio equivalente a cerca del 18% de la superficie total de Ucrania.
“During the last week, the number of Ukrainian flags in Donbas has increased. Within a week there will be even more,” Zelensky said in a late-night speech on Saturday.