RUSSIA/UKRAINE: Russia has withdrawn its troops from the strategic Ukrainian town of Lyman, in a move that is seen by many as a significant setback for its campaign in the east.
The retreat came amid fears and anxiety that the entire town would be overpowered and encircled, with the troops trapped inside, Russia’s defence ministry said.
Recapturing Lyman is of strategic significance for Ukraine; the town had been used as a logistics hub by Russia and was convenient for Ukrainian troops who gained access to more territory in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The reclaimed town of Lyman was captured on video, which showed several ecstatic Ukrainian soldiers waving their national flag on the outskirts of the town upon its liberation from the Red Army.
Amid the excited flourishing of blue and yellow colours in Lyman again, fighting was “still going,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address.
The Lyman setback prompted some useful battlefield tips from the Chechen leader and hardline Moscow sympathiser, Ramzan Kadyrov, who directed that Russia should consider using low-yield nuclear weapons in the face of such defeats.
Lyman is in Donetsk, one of four partially-occupied Ukrainian regions that Russia declared it was annexing on Friday. Ukraine and its Western allies have dismissed the move as an illegal land grab.
An adviser to Ukraine’s defence minister earlier said that recent gains around Lyman, following days of intense and rapid fighting, represented a “considerable success.”
Yurik Sak said Russian fighters had been given the chance to surrender and would face better treatment as prisoners of war than from the Russian military leadership.
Shortly after, the Kremlin declared that it would withdraw its troops from the town, using the Soviet-era name of Krasnyi (Red) Lyman, admitting that the Ukrainians had “significant superiority in forces” in the area.
Meanwhile, military analysts say that Kyiv has potential momentum in the war since it began conducting rapid counter-offensive measures against Russian troops earlier this month, in a bid to recapture all territory under red occupation.
In a speech on Friday, Zelensky said efforts to “liberate our entire land” would act as proof that international law could not be violated.
In another development, details have emerged of a deadly attack on civilians in the north-eastern Kharkiv region on September 25, claiming the lives of 24 people, including 13 children and one pregnant woman.
The message was posted by regional head Oleg Sinegubov on the Telegram messaging app. Russia has not commented on the matter yet.
Moreover, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has confirmed that Moscow, who had installed its troops at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear site, had detained the chief of the plant and was trying to force Murashov to hand over the site to Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom, according to Ukrainian officials.
Russian firefighters are tackling a blaze at the Belbek military airbase in Crimea, where officials say a plane skidded off a runway and caught fire. In August, explosions rocked Russia’s Saky military base in Crimea, and Ukraine later said that it had hit the base with an air strike.
On an international front, the German Minister of Defense, Christine Lambrecht, paid an unannounced visit to Odesa to meet her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov, reports Die Welt.
Lambrecht promised that IRS-T air-defense systems will be duly delivered to Ukraine in the coming days.