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Ukraine retakes Lyman, Russian justice validates annexation treaties

The announcement fell in the middle of the day: "From 12:30 p.

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Ukraine retakes Lyman, Russian justice validates annexation treaties

The announcement fell in the middle of the day: "From 12:30 p.m. local time (09:30 GMT), Lyman is completely rid (of the Russian army). Thank you to our soldiers", welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video disseminated on social networks.

"I am optimistic and very motivated. I see the activity on the front line and the territories that are being retaken," rejoiced with AFP a 33-year-old Ukrainian soldier stationed near Lyman, in the eastern Ukraine, who goes by his nom de guerre "Smoke".

On Saturday, Ukrainian soldiers entered this strategic city in the Donetsk region, whose annexation by Moscow on Friday was strongly condemned by kyiv and the West.

Anticipating this important tactical victory, because Lyman is a crucial railway junction, Mr. Zelensky had assured Saturday evening that next week, "new Ukrainian flags will fly on the Donbass", where the Donetsk region is located.

Then he launched, addressing Russian soldiers and officials and referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin: "Until all of you solve the problem of who started it all, who started this senseless war against Ukraine, you will be killed one by one".

The loss of Lyman, in the annexed region of Donetsk, is a major setback for the Russian army, unable at this stage to control all of the territories it occupies in Ukraine.

- Treaties "in conformity with the Constitution" -

Despite the difficulties encountered on the ground by Russia since the start of a successful counter-offensive by kyiv in early September, the legal process of formalizing the annexation of Ukrainian regions is continuing in Moscow.

After the signing of the annexation treaties on Friday with great fanfare in the Kremlin by Mr. Putin and the leaders of the separatist and occupied regions, the Russian Constitutional Court ruled them on Sunday "in accordance with the Constitution".

According to Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Duma, the deputies of the lower house of the Russian Parliament will examine Monday a bill for the ratification of the treaties.

The adoption of this text is normally planned in the wake, before it passes before the upper house of Parliament, the Council of the Federation.

The annexation of Ukrainian regions by Russia, however, is not recognized by the international community.

For the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, it makes "much more difficult, impossible, almost, the end of the war".

"Russia is losing" the war, "she has lost it in moral and political terms", but "Ukraine has not yet won", he judged, also calling on Europe to strengthen its military arsenal.

- "Nepotism" -

The difficulties encountered for several weeks by the troops in Moscow have provoked strong reactions from the fiercest Russian warmongers.

The leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya and loyal to the Kremlin, Ramzan Kadyrov, for example, called on the Russian army on Saturday to use “low-power nuclear weapons” in Ukraine, after the Russians withdrew from Lyman.

He also attacked the "nepotism" present according to him within the Russian armed forces, one of the main reasons for the military difficulties encountered for several weeks now by the troops in Moscow.

“There is no place for nepotism in the army, especially in difficult times,” he swore in a virulent message posted on social networks.

Ukraine also condemned on Saturday the "illegal detention" of the general manager of the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant (south), Igor Murachov, arrested for a reason still unknown on Friday by Russia, which controls the site.

In a statement, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, spoke of a "serious concern".

Mr. Grossi "is expected to travel to kyiv and Moscow next week," the statement also read.

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