Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Ukraine Gains Full Control of Lyman, Days After Putin Claimed Russia Rules There; As Russian Troops Flee Lyman, Ukrainians Rejoice—and Help Themselves to Russian Supplies; Putin Raises Ukraine Ante as His War Fortunes Sink; Russia vetoes UN resolution condemning illegal annexation of Ukrainian oblasts, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Manu Brabo for The Wall Street Journal
WSJ: Ukraine Gains Full Control of Lyman, Days After Putin Claimed Russia Rules There:
President Volodymyr Zelensky says eastern city now ‘cleared completely’ of Russian troops, in another victory for Kyiv
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the eastern city of Lyman had been cleared of Russian forces and that Ukrainian flags were flying again, scoring a symbolic military and political victory against Moscow on the very territory President Vladimir Putin said last week Russia would annex.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said it was withdrawing troops from the city following days of advances by Ukrainian forces to surround them, but Moscow kept several thousand troops there, most likely encircled until fighting ended.
“Lyman is cleared completely,” Mr. Zelensky said in a short address to Ukrainians at midday local time on Sunday, shortly after announcing that “the Ukrainian flag is already in Lyman, Donetsk region.”
Kyiv’s victories since the start of September have shifted the battlefield momentum in favor of Ukraine for the first time since the start of Russia’s invasion earlier this year and since Moscow-controlled separatists picked up arms in 2014 to create pro-Moscow statelets in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian advances have unsettled Russian lines of defense in eastern Ukraine. Kyiv’s forces have been chipping away at Russian positions for several weeks there as well as in the country’s south where Ukraine is slowly taking back land with the aim of driving the Russians out of the strategically important city of Kherson on the Dnipro River.
Ukrainian soldiers shot a video in front of the city hall in Lyman over the weekend, celebrating their control over the city, with one of them holding a Ukrainian flag on top of the building and a Russia-occupation flag on the ground.
Roads to Lyman were lined with burned-out hulks of Russian tanks and armored vehicles, with bodies of Russian soldiers lying on the sides. Little remains of nearby villages, with hardly any civilians left. Ukrainian forces, too, have been taking significant casualties. --->READ MORE HERE
Photographs by Manu Brabo for The Wall Street Journal 
WSJ: As Russian Troops Flee Lyman, Ukrainians Rejoice—and Help Themselves to Russian Supplies:
Ambushed during the hasty retreat, Moscow’s forces leave behind burning vehicles and bodies of soldiers along the roadsides.
Residents of the war-wrecked town of Lyman ventured onto the streets Sunday morning, enjoying an unusual quiet after months of fighting, and unsure about who was now in charge.
The last Russian forces drove out of the city the previous night, trying to avoid getting encircled by the advancing Ukrainian troops. Not all the Russians made it out. Burning Russian vehicles and sprawled bodies of dead Russian soldiers remain on the roadsides outside the city.
“We still can’t figure out who is what. Are those soldiers down the street Russian or Ukrainian?” wondered Dmytro Hontar as he watched dozens of Lyman residents help themselves to abandoned Russian stores on the city’s main square Sunday morning, carting off sacks of flour marked “Russian Humanitarian Aid.”
“People are just looting everything,” he said, shaking his head, and, minutes later, joined the frenzy himself.
“We had no aid from anyone here. We were just eating whatever reserves we had stockpiled before the war,” explained Tamara Kozachenko as she dragged two bags containing 5 kilograms of flour each.
“The Russians, we didn’t even see how they vanished,” she added before asking, alarmed: “Is it final now?”
Home to some 22,000 people before the war, Lyman is a strategic town on the northern tip of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, one of the four areas that Russia has claimed as its own land following sham referendums last month. Its loss is a major embarrassment for President Vladimir Putin—the first such retreat from a city that he claims is officially part of Russia.
Coming on the heels of a rapid Ukrainian offensive that ousted Russia from occupied parts of the Kharkiv region last month, the Russian defeat here opens the way for Ukrainian forces to advance into the nearby Luhansk region, further reversing the territorial gains Russia had made in recent months. Luhansk and Donetsk are collectively known as Donbas, and Russia has occupied parts of the two regions since 2014.
The speed of the Ukrainian successes in recent weeks stunned Russia, spurring open criticism of Moscow’s top military brass and forcing Mr. Putin to mobilize hundreds of thousands of reservists in an effort to shore up Russian defenses. Battling against time, Ukraine is trying to reclaim as much land as it can before the bulk of these reservists are trained and deployed. --->READ MORE HERE
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