Russia abandons cities annexed in Ukraine, a day after claiming it as its territory
For fear of being encircled, Russian forces have left their stronghold of Lyman in eastern Ukraine, according to Moscow on Saturday, according to Reuters. This occurs barely one day after the Kremlin gained control of the city. According to a statement from Russia's Ministry of Defence, "Allied forces were moved from the town of... Lyman to more favourable lines because the threat of encirclement was created."
The Kremlin's announcement came hours after Kiev claimed that its forces were inside the town of Layman and that they had surrounded thousands of Russian soldiers in the region.
For its operations in the region of Donetsk's north, Lyman had acted as a centre for supplies and transportation. According to the Reuters story, its collapse would represent Ukraine's largest combat victory since a quick counteroffensive in the northern Kharkiv region last month.
According to the story, which cited a military spokeswoman for Ukraine, taking Lyman would enable Kyiv to push into the Luhansk area, whose full conquest Moscow claimed at the start of July after weeks of plodding, slow advancements.
"Lyman is significant because it is the next step towards releasing the Ukrainian Donbas. It is a chance to continue on to Kreminna and Sievierodonetsk, and it is crucial psychologically "explained he.
The Donetsk and Luhansk regions make up the larger Donbas region, which has been a primary target for Russia ever since the invasion began on February 24 this year in what Moscow referred to as a "special military operation" to demilitarise its neighbour.
In a ceremony on Friday, Vladimir Putin declared the southern districts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia and the Donbas areas of Donetsk and Luhansk to be Russian territory. Together, these regions make up about 18% of Ukraine's total surface land area.