Day After Illegal Annexation, Russia Loses Key City

Russia says it has withdrawn its troops from Lyman, in Ukraine's Donetsk region
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 1, 2022 11:30 AM CDT
Russia Pulls Troops From City in Illegally Annexed Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen at the Kremlin during a ceremony to sign the treaties for Russia to illegally annex four regions of Ukraine.   (Grigory Sysoyev, Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP)

Russia said Saturday it has withdrawn its troops from the once-occupied city of Lyman, as Ukraine's eastern counteroffensive recaptures more territory. Russia's Tass and RIA news agencies, citing the Russian defense ministry, made the announcement, per the AP. Lyman is in the Donetsk region, 100 miles southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city. Ukrainian forces had pushed across the Oskil River as part of a counteroffensive that saw Kyiv retake vast swaths of territory beginning in September. Lyman, a key transportation hub, had been an important site in the Russian front line for both ground communications and logistics. Now with it gone, Ukraine can potentially push further into the occupied Luhansk region, which is one of four regions that Russia annexed Friday after an internationally criticized referendum vote at gunpoint.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive has humiliated the Kremlin, while, in a sharp escalation of war, Russian bombardments intensified after Moscow's illegal annexations. In the northeast, Ukrainian officials accused Russian forces of attacking a civilian evacuation convoy, killing 20 people including children. In the south, Ukraine's nuclear power provider said Saturday that Russian forces blindfolded and detained the head of Europe's largest nuclear plant. The fighting comes at a pivotal moment in Russian President Vladimir Putin's war. Facing Ukrainian gains on the battlefield—which he frames as a US-orchestrated effort to destroy Russia—Putin this week heightened his threats of nuclear force and used his most aggressive, anti-Western rhetoric to date.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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