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.
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 liberation] of Lyman is important, because it is another step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbas.
All routes for the supply of ammunition or the retreat of the group are all completely blocked,” he added.
Images obtained by CNN show Ukrainian forces in control of rural areas of Donetsk around the contested town of Lyman. »