Home / News / World /  Ukraine's key town in annexed region declared ‘fully cleared’ of Russian forces

A day after Moscow said its troops had decided to withdraw from their months-long stronghold in the north Donetsk region, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared the key eastern town of Lyman "fully cleared" of Russian forces on Sunday.

"As of 1230 (0930 GMT), Lyman is fully cleared," Zelensky said in a short video clip on his Telegram channel as quoted by news agency Reuters.

Russia pulled troops out Saturday from an eastern Ukrainian city that it had been using as a front-line hub, after being encircled by Ukrainian forces, as per news agency AP reports. 

Russia’s withdrawal from Lyman complicates its internationally vilified move to annex four regions of Ukraine and paves the way for Ukrainian troops to potentially push further into land that Moscow now illegally claims as its own.

Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed to have inflicted damage on Ukrainian forces in battling to hold onto Lyman, but said outnumbered Russian troops were withdrawn to more favorable positions. 

The Russian announcement came soon after Ukraine’s air force said it had moved into Lyman and the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff posted photos of a Ukrainian flag being hoisted on the town's outskirts.

Lyman, a key transport hub, had been an important node in the Russian front line for both ground communications and logistics. Located 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Lyman is in the Donetsk region near the border with Luhansk region, both of which Russia annexed Friday after an "referendum vote" was held at gunpoint.

Ukrainian forces have retaken vast swathes of territory in a counteroffensive that started in September which saw them push Russian forces out of the Kharkiv area and move east across the Oskil River toward Lyman and other strategic points.

Meanwhile, Russian bombardments have intensified in recent days as Moscow moved swiftly with the annexation and ordered a mass mobilization at home to bolster its forces.

 

(With inputs from agencies)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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