Russia’s internationally reviled plan to annex four regions of Ukraine is hampered by its withdrawal from Lyman.
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia withdrew its troops on Saturday from an eastern Ukrainian city that it had been using as a front-line hub prior to being encircled by Ukrainian forces. The city had been in the centre of Russia’s offensive against Ukraine. The Kremlin has been further embarrassed and enraged as a result of the most recent victory achieved by the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
The Russian Federation’s decision to pull out of Lyman makes its internationally reviled declaration from just one day earlier that it had annexed four regions of Ukraine — an area that includes Lyman — more difficult to implement. If Ukrainian forces are successful in taking the city, it will pave the way for them to potentially advance further into territory that Moscow is now unlawfully claiming as its own.
“The Ukrainian flag has already been raised in Lyman, which is located in the Donetsk region. There is still active fighting taking place there. In his nightly address on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that there is “no trace of any pseudo-referendum there.”
He was referring to “referendums” that Russia had held at gunpoint in the four regions prior to annexing them; these regions were Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherso.
The fighting comes at a critical juncture in the war that is being led by Russian President Vladimir Putin. This week, in response to Ukrainian advances on the battlefield, which Putin interprets as a U.S.-orchestrated effort to destroy Russia, Putin increased threats of nuclear force and used his most aggressive, anti-Western rhetoric to date.
In the northeast, Ukrainian officials alleged that Russian forces attacked a civilian evacuation convoy, resulting in the deaths of twenty people, including children. Saturday, the Ukrainian nuclear energy provider reported that Russian forces blindfolded and detained the head of the largest nuclear plant in Europe.
Despite Putin’s Friday annexation of four Ukrainian regions, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his military have vowed to continue fighting for the liberation of the annexed regions and other Russian-occupied territories.
Saturday, Ukrainian authorities accused Russian forces of attacking two humanitarian convoys in recent days, resulting in the deaths of dozens of civilians.
Oleh Syniehubov, the governor of the Kharkiv region, stated that 24 civilians were killed in an attack on a convoy of people fleeing the Kupyansk district earlier this week, calling it “cruelty that cannot be justified.”
He stated that thirteen children and a pregnant woman were among the deceased.