Ukraine has declared full control over the key eastern city of Lyman, one day after Moscow admitted it had withdrawn its troops from the area.
In a short video clip posted to his Telegram channel, Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy confirmed the recapture of the city. “As of 1230 local time Lyman is completely cleared,” he said, thanking the troops involved in the operation and signing off with his traditional rallying cry of “Glory to Ukraine”.
The president had earlier said his army would continue its offensive in the south and east and would “return back” all of the territory occupied by Russia, including Crimea which has been annexed since 2014. He also suggested in-fighting between Russian generals, embarrassed by the recent pushback from Ukrainian forces.
The loss of Lyman comes four months after Russian seized the city. It is situated in the Donetsk oblast, one of the regions recently annexed by Vladimir Putin, and its recapture amounts to a humiliating moment for the Russian president. Just days ago Putin had declared that the annexed territories would remain under Russian control “forever”.
Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s armed forces would continue to their push to recapture regions lost to Russian control. Reports suggested Ukrainian troops are already pushing forward from Lyman towards the cities of Svatove and Kreminna.
Video footage shared from Lyman showed burned-out vehicles, personal belongings and dead soldiers strewn along a forest road. It is unclear how many Russian troops were killed in the operation.