In yet another defeat by the Ukrainian army, Russia has given up the strategically important city of Lyman in the Donetsk region. The armed forces had been withdrawn because of the risk of encirclement, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in Moscow.
In Lyman, the next bitter defeat for the Russian troops had already been hinted at. According to their own statements, the Ukrainian troops surrounded around 5,000 Russian soldiers there. There had never been such a number of encircled Russians in the war, said the Ukrainian head of administration for Luhansk, Serhiy Hajdaj. Almost all entrances are blocked. "They now have three options: either they can try to break out or they surrender. Or they all die together. There are about 5,000 of them, there is no exact number," said Hajdaj.
"Lyman is important because it is the next step in liberating Ukraine's Donbass," said a Ukrainian spokesman. "It's an opportunity to move on to Kreminna and Siewierodonetsk and it's very important psychologically." Parts of the areas have been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.