Inside Ukraine's Take-Back of Lyman

One Russian newspaper described the 'empty eyes' of Russian troops as they fled the city
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2022 5:00 PM CDT
Inside Ukraine's Take-Back of Lyman
A destroyed Russian APC stands in the yard of a private house in front of a church in the recently liberated town of Sviatohirsk, Ukraine, just east of the city of Lyman, on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.   (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Ukraine's Defense Ministry announced Sunday afternoon that the strategic eastern city of Lyman was "fully cleared of Russian occupiers," and Russian officials and media have not tried to sugar coat the fact. As the New York Times reports, the prominent Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda published an "unusually candid" report about Russian forces' final days in Lyman, which were beset by low morale, desertions, and lack of reinforcements. "The risk of encirclement or shameful imprisonment became too great, and the Russian command made a decision to fall back," according to the paper's war correspondent, who also described the "empty eyes" of Russian soldiers fleeing encirclement by Ukrainian forces.

The Washington Post echoes those encirclement concerns by way of a comment from a Russian Defense Ministry rep, who on Saturday said "in connection with the creation of a threat of encirclement, the allied troops were withdrawn ... to more advantageous lines." The loss of Lyman, an essential rail hub in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, is a major blow for Russia both strategically and politically. While most of Lyman’s buildings and infrastructure lie in ruins, reports describe a city quickly returning to Ukrainian control, with local police resuming patrols and troops delivering aid to residents who have been without reliable water, food, or power during months of Russian occupation.

While the Times published images of dead Russian soldiers and charred vehicles along roadways outside Lyman, there were conflicting reports as to the fate of thousands of Russians who once occupied the city. A CNN team in Lyman on Sunday saw "few ... Russian dead, or Russian prisoners," and some locals claimed the Russians withdrew on Friday, around the same time Putin was holding his ceremony. As Ukrainian forces continue offensive operations in the east, they are also making gains in the southern Kherson Oblast, per CNBC, which reports Ukrainian forces liberated several towns along the Dnipro River, where Russia’s Defense Ministry admitted "superior enemy tank units succeeded in wedging into the depth" of its defenses. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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