Russian troops left the town of Lyman in the Donetsk region of Ukraine so that their soldiers would not be surrounded by the Ukrainian army.
The announcement was made by the Russian Ministry of Defense on Saturday (1st).
Lyman was, for months, a logistics and transport hub for Russian operations. The retaking of the city marks a defeat for Moscow, a day after President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of four Ukrainian regions (including Donetsk, where Lyman is located).
The Ukrainian army had said earlier that its troops had surrounded thousands of Russian soldiers in the vicinity of Lyman.
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“Russian forces are under siege in Lyman,” said army spokesman in the east of the country, Serhiy Cherevatyi, quoted by the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
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He said that “between 5,000 and 5,500 Russians” were entrenched on the outskirts of Lyman. But more recent fighting has reduced the number of soldiers, added Cherevatyi.
Serguii Gaidai, governor of neighboring Luhansk, said Russian soldiers in Lymam “have three options: flee, die all together or surrender”.
Cherevatyi also announced that Kiev troops had recaptured five locations around Lyman, increasing pressure on Russian soldiers who are besieged.
The Ukrainian army has conquered important territory in recent weeks in the Kharkiv region, northwest of Donetsk, where Lyman is located.