Russians Retreat From 'Annexed' Ukraine Regions

Zelensky says dozens of towns, villages liberated
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2022 8:43 PM CDT
Russians Retreat From 'Annexed' Ukraine Regions
Ukrainian soldiers drive a tank near Yatskivka village, Ukraine, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022.   (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

As Russian lawmakers ratified the annexation of four regions of southern Ukraine Tuesday, the amount of territory actually controlled by Russia continued to shrink. Ukrainian authorities say the counteroffensive in the country's south is gathering steam and Russian forces have been pushed out of numerous towns and villages, the BBC reports. In his nightly address Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said "dozens of settlements" in southern Ukraine had been liberated in "fast, powerful movements." He listed eight villages that had been liberated in the Kherson region, adding that it "is far from a complete list. Our soldiers do not stop,” per the AP.

Analysts say Russian forces are retreating in Donetsk and Luhansk in the east and Kherson in the south, three of the four regions where Moscow claims residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining Russia. "The Ukrainian armed forces commanders in the south and east are throwing problems at the Russian chain of command faster than the Russians can effectively respond,” a Western official speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Washington Post. "And this is compounding the existing dysfunction within the Russian invasion force." Analysts say the loss of the city of Lyman in Donetsk is a major strategic blow to Russia.

Russia's defense ministry didn't mention the pullbacks in its daily briefing Tuesday, but maps it displayed showed a smaller area under Russian military control, reports Reuters. President Biden and the European Union denounced the illegal annexation Tuesday, with Biden vowing that the US would never recognize it. Zelensky formally ruled out talks with Putin on Tuesday, saying the annexation move had made negotiations impossible, the AP reports. A Kremlin spokesman said Russia would wait for him to change his mind or "wait for a future Ukrainian president who would revise his stand in the interests of the Ukrainian people." (Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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