Russian forces have retreated from the city of Lyman in the region of Donetsk after Ukrainian forces launched strikes.
Reports suggest Russian forces withdrew over fears of being encircled by Ukrainian forces.
Ukraine has reportedly re-taken the city a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, including Donetsk.
The city has been a vital logistics and transport hub for Russian troops since it was first taken.
Russian forces retreated from Lyman, a strategic city for its operations in the east, the Russian defense ministry said Saturday, just a day after Moscow’s annexation of the region that’s been declared illegal by the West.
“In connection with the creation of a threat of encirclement, allied troops were withdrawn from the settlement of Krasny Liman to more advantageous lines,” the ministry said on Telegram, using the Russian name for the town of Lyman.
Russian state media Russia-24 reported that the reason for Russia’s withdrawal was because “the enemy used both Western-made artillery and intelligence from North Atlantic alliance countries.”
The retreat marks Ukraine’s most significant gain since its successful counteroffensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region last month.
Russia’s announcement comes just hours after Ukrainian forces said they had encircled Russian troops in the city, which is located in the Kramatorsk district of Donetsk.
Ukrainian forces said earlier Saturday that they had entered Stavky, a village neighboring Lyman, according to Serhii Cherevatyi, the military spokesperson for the eastern grouping of Ukrainian forces.
“The Russian group in the area of Lyman is surrounded. The settlements of Yampil, Novoselivka, Shandryholove, Drobysheve, and Stavky are liberated. Stabilization measures are ongoing there,” Cherevatyi said in a televised press conference on Saturday morning.
“[The liberation] of Lyman is important, because it is another step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbas. This is an opportunity to go further to Kreminna and Severodonetsk. Therefore, in turn, it is psychologically very important,” he said.
Cherevatyi said the Ukrainian troops actions are setting the tone to “break the course of these hostilities.”
© 2022, GDC. © GDC and www.globaldefensecorp.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to www.globaldefensecorp.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.