Kiev says Ukrainian troops are besieging thousands of Russian troops in Lyman, a city very important to Moscow’s forces, in eastern Ukraine.
“Russian troops in the Lyman region are under siege,” Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesman for Ukraine’s military forces in the east, announced today. “Lyman is very important because this is the next step to liberate Donbass. This is an opportunity to hit further to Kreminna and Sievierodonetsk. It is also a very important step in terms of morale.”
The Russian force in Lyman has between 5,000 and 5,500 soldiers, but the number of troops surrounded may be less due to casualties and some soldiers trying to escape the encirclement, according to Cherevatyi. He said the Russian army was trying to break the siege, but all efforts were unsuccessful. “Some people surrendered. Soldiers were killed and wounded a lot, but the operation is not over yet.”
Denis Pushilin, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), earlier announced that reinforcements had been sent to Lyman. He acknowledged that the Russian military and the separatists were struggling here, facing “constant attacks”. The DPR leader emphasized that he is doing “everything to preserve life and maintain position”.
The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the information of Ukraine and the DPR leadership.
Lyman in Donetsk province, eastern Ukraine, is a key rail traffic hub in the region, which has been controlled by Russia and the separatists since late May. The US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says Russia is “facing defeat” at Lyman, saying it will affect morale during Russia’s mobilization. If they control Lyman, the Ukrainian army could target Russian positions along the western part of Lugansk province, as well as Russian groups in the northern part of Donetsk province.
Hong Hanh (Theo AFP)