Zelensky said the town of Lyman, which has been used by Russian forces as a major logistics hub in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region since its arrival this spring, has been completely “cleared of Russian occupiers” as of midday local time, according to the Defense Ministry. He said on Twitter.
The president’s statement came a day after the Russian Defense Ministry He confessed It was forced to withdraw its forces from Lehman “to more advantageous lines”.
The consolidation of Ukrainian control of the city, after other gains made by those forces since launching a major counterattack last month, contrasted sharply with advancing Russia’s steps to formally integrate Donetsk and three other eastern regions into Russia after a series of organized referendums. There last weekwhich Kyiv and its Western supporters denounced as illegitimate and illegitimate.
Zelensky sarcastically referred to Putin’s attempt to proclaim Russian authority by injunction over the areas now recaptured by Ukrainian forces.
He later said, “That, you know, is the trend.” In the title of his nightly video. “Recently, someone somewhere held phony polls, and when the Ukrainian flag was brought back, no one remembers the Russian farce with some pieces of paper and some annexation.”
The continued advances in Russia-controlled areas raise the risk of repeated threats made by President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials in recent days, suggesting that Moscow could go so far as to use nuclear weapons To defend the territories it considers part of Russia, including the territories annexed by Ukraine.
Putin referred to America’s use of atomic bombs against Japan in 1945 During a fiery speech on FridayThe Russian leader described the annexation of large swathes of Ukraine as a fulfillment of the fate of the Russians.
Ukraine’s supporters in the West, such as the leaders in Kyiv, insisted that they would not succumb to Russian intimidation. On Sunday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned Russia not to pursue any escalatory retaliation linked to the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.
“Again, it’s an illegal claim; it’s an irresponsible statement” He said in an interview with CNN. “The rattling of nuclear swords is not the kind we expect to hear from leaders of big countries with capabilities.”
Austin said he expects Ukrainian forces to continue offensive operations with the goal of reclaiming all Russian-controlled territory, despite Putin’s recent order to mobilize an additional 300,000 troops to bolster the fighting in Ukraine. Ukrainian forces are also trying to penetrate deeper into the Russian-controlled areas of southern Ukraine, towards the city of Kherson.
“I don’t think this will stop, and we will continue to support them in their efforts,” he said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg described the recovery of Lyman as an example of progress being made by Ukrainian forces “because of their courage and skill, but of course also because of the advanced weaponry provided by the United States and its other allies.”
He pointed out that countries, including Norway and Germany, are stepping up their aid to Ukraine. “It makes a difference on the battlefield every single day,” he told NBC.
A series of recent battlefield setbacks may indicate that the Russian military has reached a “breaking point,” said H.R. McMaster, a retired three-star general who served as a national security adviser during the Trump administration.
What we may be here is really on the brink of the real collapse of the Russian military in Ukraine. It’s a moral breakdown,” he told CBS.
But US officials cautioned that despite Russia’s failure to achieve the initial goals of Putin’s February 24 invasion, including the capture of Kyiv, the ongoing mobilization could still present a formidable challenge to Ukraine. Even with larger amounts of Western aid, the Ukrainian army is dwarfed in size and weaponry compared to the Russian army.
Leaders of nine eastern and central European countries on Sunday denounced Putin’s annexation, which will be formalized by the Russian parliament on Monday and Tuesday, saying they could not “remain silent in the face of the flagrant violation of international law”.
The presidents of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovakia: “We do not and will never recognize Russian attempts to annex any Ukrainian territory.” He said in a joint statement.
As Russian forces attempted to draw up a new line of defense after withdrawing from Lyman, a torrent of public accusations and squabbles over who was responsible for Moscow’s recent setbacks poured into hardline pro-Kremlin Telegram channels.
In an open conflict that highlighted the state of chaos among the Russians, two powerful figures with their armed forces fighting Ukraine launched violent attacks on the leaders of the Russian Ministry of Defense. It began with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s criticism on Saturday of Russian military leaders, and his call to use tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine.
Then in rare public statements, the Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the mercenary group Wagner, added his blunt attack.
According to Wagner’s Telegram channel, he said: “Kadyrov’s expressive statement, of course, is not entirely in my style.” “But I think we should send all these barefoot bastards to the front with automatic rifles,” he said, in an apparent reference to the top Russian military leaders.
Elena Panina, a former lawmaker and director of Russtrat, a pro-Kremlin think tank, called public attacks on prominent Russian military figures “unprecedented” before she piled on her criticism, complaining that there was no tough military retaliation to punish Ukraine. for a forced Russian withdrawal.
She described Ukraine’s restoration of control of the Lyman as a “direct act of aggression against Russia,” referring to Russia’s illegal move to annex the region. Panina said criticism of the Russian military leadership came “in the midst of military failures and appeasement of the enemy.”
But she said sweeping Russia’s failures under the rug was a path “fraught with real disaster”. In what appeared to be a call for the dismissal of senior military officials, it called for “qualitative changes in personnel, of an organizational and operational nature, up to and including emergency measures.”
“According to many estimates, Russia is facing an enemy that is more numerous, better armed, better prepared and motivated,” said Panina, adding that winning would require “a superhuman effort.”
The pro-Kremlin news outlet Redovka described the public broadcast of the accusations as “worse than treason” and called for an end to public accusations by “hot heads” and “national turbines”, in a comment on its Telegram channel.
Ukraine on Sunday continued to press for the release of an official overseeing its nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya, which authorities said was He was arrested by Russia. Fighting in the area around the facility, which is under Russian control but operated by Ukrainian engineers, has raised concerns about a nuclear accident.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he spoke with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, who told him that the agency was working to secure the release of Ihor Murashov, the station’s director.
“I stressed that Russia should withdraw troops and military equipment from the plant,” Kuleba said. in a tweet.
Morgunov reported from Kyiv. Dixon reports from Riga, Latvia.
The war in Ukraine: what you need to know
Last: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees Friday to The annexation of four occupied regions of Ukraine, after interim referendums were widely denounced as illegal. Follow us Live updates here.
the answer: The Biden administration announced on Friday a New round of sanctions against RussiaIn response to the annexations, it targeted Russian and Belarusian government officials, family members, military officials, and defense procurement networks. As President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday, so is Ukraine Apply for a “quick ascent” to NATOIn clear response to the annexations.
In Russia: Putin announced military mobilization On September 21 to call up to 300,000 reserve soldiers In a dramatic attempt to reverse the setbacks in his war on Ukraine. advertising led to exodus From More than 180,000 peopleespecially The men who were subject to serviceAnd the Renewed protests and other acts of defiance against the war.
Fighting: Ukraine launched successful counterattack who – which Russia forced a major withdrawal in the northeastern Kharkiv region In early September, when the troops fled the cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and Abandoned large amounts of military equipment.
Pictures: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground since the start of the war. Here are some of their most powerful works.