Lyman’s withdrawal from Moscow represents a “significant political setback” and has drawn public criticism in Russia because the city is in Donetsk Oblast, a priority Ukrainian region that Russia is trying to “liberate”, the official said. UK Ministry of Defense in its latest war assessment.
In a video address on Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that Ukraine had regained full control of Lyman, which Russia had used as a transportation and logistics hub.
“Thank you to our soldiers, to our warriors,” he said.
Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the republic of Chechnya in southern Russia, wrote on Telegram that Russian military chief Colonel General Alexander Lapin is expected to be sacked after Saturday’s retirement.
“Not all decisions need to be made with an eye on the Western American community,” Kadyrov said in a Telegram post. “Yesterday the parade in Izium, today the flag in Lyman, and tomorrow what? Everything would be fine if it wasn’t so bad.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin who leads mercenaries fighting for Russia during the war, suggested that Russia send some leaders “barefoot with machine guns to the front”.
RUSSIAN TROOPS FORCED TO WITHDRAW: Russia abandons annexed city as Ukraine advances
►After Zelenskyy’s announcement, a video uploaded showed a Ukrainian soldier saying that Kyiv forces had started targeting the town of Kreminna, just across the border in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. ‘Ukraine. Russian military correspondents have also acknowledged Ukrainian attacks targeting the Kreminna.
►The Ukrainian army said it shot down eight of the Iranian-made Russian drones, seven tanks and an ammunition warehouse on Sunday.
►German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has pledged to deliver 16 wheeled armored howitzers produced in Slovakia to Ukraine next year. They will be produced in Slovakia and financed jointly with Denmark, Norway and Germany.
►Russia’s withdrawal from northeastern Ukraine in recent weeks has revealed evidence of widespread and routine torture of civilians and soldiers, including in the strategic town of Izium, according to an Associated Press investigation.
Ukrainian military leader grateful for US support
Ukraine Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of his country’s armed forces, said he discussed its weapons needs with Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Sunday. The call came days after Congress voted to provide Ukraine with $12 billion. American weaponry has been key to the success of the Ukrainian military over the past month.
“I am sincerely grateful to all of the American people and their leadership for Ukraine’s continued and unwavering support during this difficult time,” Zaluzhnyi said on Telegram.
Zelensky’s hometown attracts Russian drone strikes
The hometown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was attacked by suicide drones on Sunday as Russia retaliated against Ukraine’s effective counter-offensive that pushed its troops back thousands of miles from land they had occupied for months.
The southern town of Krivyi Rih was attacked by Russia by a suicide drone that destroyed two floors of a school on Sunday morning, said Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region. Ukraine’s air force said on Sunday it shot down five Iranian-made drones overnight but two others managed to break through air defences.
The attack came a day after Ukrainian troops forced Russian troops to withdraw from Lyman, a strategic town in the Donbass region located in one of four areas incorporated by Russia on Friday.
“Russia has staged a farce in the Donbass,” Zelenskyy said on Sunday. “And now Ukrainian flags are flying over there.”
NATO chief issues warnings of pipeline sabotage and nuclear war
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that damage to two Nord Stream gas pipelines appeared to be sabotage and that “any deliberate attack on critical NATO infrastructure will be met with a firm and united response from NATO”.
Stoltenberg, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” also described President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear war rhetoric as dangerous and reckless – but nothing new.
“It doesn’t change the fact that it’s dangerous,” Stoltenberg said. “This is also a reason why we have made it so clear to President Putin that any use of nuclear weapons will have serious consequences for Russia…(and) will totally change the nature of the conflict.”
Pope Francis urges Putin to stop ‘the spiral of violence and death’
Pope Francis on Sunday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin for a ceasefire, imploring him to “stop this spiral of violence and death” in Ukraine and denouncing the “absurd” risks of nuclear war. Francis delivered his strongest plea yet about the 7 month “horror”. The pope, addressing a crowd Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, also called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “be open” to serious peace proposals.
“The way the war is unfolding in Ukraine has become so serious, devastating and threatening that it causes great concern,” Francis said.
9 EU countries issue statement in support of Ukraine’s EU membership
Leaders of nine Eastern European countries issued a statement on Sunday reiterating their support for Ukraine’s membership of the European Union and saying they will ‘never’ recognize Russia’s claim to four regions of the invaded country.
“We support Ukraine in its defense against Russian invasion, we demand that Russia immediately withdraw its troops from all occupied territories, and we call on all members of the Alliance to significantly increase military assistance to Ukraine,” reads the statement signed by Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Slovakia. “All those who commit crimes of aggression must be held accountable and brought to justice.”
Contribute: The Associated Press