Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to recapture more territory in eastern Ukraine after Kyiv forces pushed Russia out of the key city of Lyman.
“Now there is a Ukrainian flag there” in Lyman, Zelenskyy said in his night direction on Saturday. “During this week, there were more Ukrainian flags in Donbas. It will be even more in a week.”
Ukraine expelled Moscow’s forces from Lyman on Saturday, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed the annexation of Donetsk, which includes the strategic city. The Defense Ministry in Moscow on Saturday cited “a threat of encirclement” by withdrawing its troops from Lyman “to more advantageous lines”, he said in a Telegram. mail.
Lyman’s withdrawal represents a major setback for Putin as Kyiv’s counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion advances further in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian push has seen the recovery of a large amount of Russian-occupied territory, as Moscow’s soldiers have left the front lines.
“Operationally, Lyman is important because it commands a key road junction over the Siversky Donets River, behind which Russia has been trying to consolidate its defences,” the UK Ministry of Defense said. said on Sunday.
“Russia’s withdrawal from Lyman also represents a major political setback” after Putin proclaimed the region’s annexation on Friday, the ministry said. Putin praised the annexation of Donetsk and three other regions after referendums that Western countries declared a “farce.”
“Russia has staged a farce in Donbas. An absolute farce, which was intended to be presented as a supposed referendum”, Zelenskyy said on Saturday night.
“Ukraine will return its own,” promised the president. “Both in the east and in the south. And what they tried to annex now, and Crimea, which is called annexed since 2014.”
“Our flag will be everywhere,” he said.
Lyman has been a key supply and logistics hub for Russian troops fighting in eastern Ukraine. The loss of the city will further hamper Moscow’s supply lines and impede Russia’s ability to maneuver against an intensified Ukrainian. counteroffensive in the east that has also pushed Russian forces out of the Kharkiv area.
Lyman’s recovery is “significant” for Ukraine as it creates more problems for the Russian military on its supply routes, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said. “And without those routes, it will be more difficult. So it presents a bit of a dilemma for the Russians going forward,” Austin told reporters in Hawaii on Saturday, Reuters reported.
“And we think the Ukrainians have done a great job of getting there and starting to occupy the city,” Austin said.
“Lyman is important because it is the next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbas,” Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesman for the eastern Ukrainian forces, said on Saturday. “It’s an opportunity to go beyond Kreminna and Sievierodonetsk, and it’s psychologically very important,” he said. said.