Ukraine’s armed forces said on Saturday they had “liberated” five settlements in the Donetsk region and surrounded thousands of Russian troops near the eastern town of Lyman.
“Russian troops in the Lyman region are surrounded. The settlements of Yampil, Novoselivka, Shandryholove, Drobysheve and Stavky are liberated. Stabilization measures are being taken there,” said Serhii Cherevatyi, chairman of the Eastern Troop Group. , to a Ukrainian media. reports Pravda.
The advance comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a land grab not only for Donetsk, but also for Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.
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Putin warned that Russia would now treat any attack on the four regions as an attack on mainland Russia, calling Ukrainians still residing in the war-torn regions “Russians forever”.
But Ukrainian forces are advancing in western Lugansk and northern Donetsk as they advance towards the strategically important city of Sievierodonetsk, which Russia has occupied since June.
Cherevatyi said around 5,000 to 5,500 occupants were in Lyman, but noted that it was difficult to estimate the number of troops in the areas surrounding the town due to the fluid movement of troops in combat zones. .
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The spokesman said some Russian troops unsuccessfully tried to break through the Ukrainian barricade near the town while others had started to surrender.
Taking Lyman would be an important strategic victory for Ukraine, but Cherevatyi said the fight to fully liberate the city was not over.
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Lyman served as a major logistics and transport hub for Russian forces and its operations in northern Donetsk, Reuters reported.
Securing the city would be the biggest battlefield victory for Ukraine as it forced Russian troops to withdraw from almost the entire Kharkiv region in a major counteroffensive last month.