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Ukraine hails ‘next step towards liberation’ as Russia withdraws | Russian-Ukrainian War News


After being surrounded by Ukrainian forces, Russia withdrew from the strategic city of Lyman in eastern Ukraine – the latest victory in Kyiv’s counter-offensive that has humiliated and angered Moscow.

Saturday’s announcement comes a day after President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of four Ukrainian regions – including Donetsk, where Lyman is based – and put them under Russia’s nuclear umbrella, at a condemned ceremony by Kyiv and the West as an illegal farce.

“In connection with creating a threat of encirclement, allied troops were withdrawn from the Krasny Liman settlement to more advantageous lines,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, using the city’s Russian name. city.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy later said in a video speech that despite the Ukrainian flag flying over the city, “fighting is still going on there”.

He also pointed out that Ukrainian troops had captured the village of Torske, on the main road out of Lyman to the east.

The Russian statement ended hours of official silence after Ukraine first said it had surrounded thousands of Russian troops in the area and that their forces were then inside the city.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry tweeted that “almost all” Russian troops in Lyman have been captured or killed.

‘Strong measures’

Located 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, Lyman is in the Donetsk region near the border with Luhansk, two regions Russia annexed on Friday.

Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesman for Ukraine’s eastern forces, said: “The Russian group in the Lyman area is under siege.

Russia has used Lyman as a logistics and transport hub for its operations in the northern Donetsk region. Its capture would be Ukraine’s biggest battlefield profit since a counterattack in northeastern Kharkiv region last month.

Ukraine’s recent successes have made Putin’s allies like Ramzan Kadyrovleader of Russia’s southern Chechnya region, who said he felt compelled to speak out.

“In my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, right from the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons,” said Kadyrov. write on Telegram.

Other top Putin allies, including former President Dmitry Medvedev, have suggested that Russia may need use nuclear weaponsbut Kadyrov’s call was the most urgent and obvious.

Last week, Mr Putin said he was not lying when he said he was prepared to defend Russia’s “territorial integrity” by all means available and made it clear on Friday that this extended to the new area claimed by Moscow.

Washington said it would respond definitive for any use of nuclear weapons and pointed out to Moscow the “catastrophic consequences” it would face.

‘Psychologically very important’

Two Ukrainian soldiers taped yellow and blue national flags to a sign welcoming Lyman at an entrance to the city, a video posted by the president’s chief of staff showed.

“October 1. We are planting our state flag and setting it up on our land. Lyman will be Ukraine,” said one of the soldiers.

Ukraine says control of Lyman will allow Kyiv to enter the Luhansk region, which Moscow has fully captured, which Moscow announced in early July after weeks of progress.

“Lyman is very important because it is the next step to liberate the Donbas of Ukraine. This is an opportunity to go further to Kreminna and Severodonetsk, and it is very important psychologically,” said Cherevatyi.

The Donetsk and Luhansk regions make up the larger Donbas region, which has been Russia’s main focus since the start of Moscow’s invasion on February 24 with a so-called “special military operation” aimed at demilitarization of neighboring countries.

Putin declared the Donbas regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia as Russian land on Friday – a territory that accounts for about 18 percent of Ukraine’s total land area.

Ukraine and its Western allies consider Russia’s move illegal. Kyiv promised to continue freeing her land from Russian forces and said it would not hold peace talks with Moscow while Putin remained president.

Meanwhile, on the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia, the governor of the city of Sevastopol announced a state of emergency at an airport there. Beachgoers at the Russian-run resort could see explosions and huge plumes of smoke. Authorities said a plane had rolled off the runway at Belbek airport, and that ammunition on board had caught fire.

Ukrainian authorities accuse Russian forces of targeting two humanitarian convoys in recent days, killing dozens of civilians.

In other developments, in an apparent attempt to secure Moscow’s hold on the newly annexed territory, Russian forces arrest the general manager of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ihor Murashov.

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