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War in Ukraine: why the loss of the city of Lyman would be a blow for Russia

"At present, Lyman is partially surrounded.

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War in Ukraine: why the loss of the city of Lyman would be a blow for Russia

"At present, Lyman is partially surrounded. The road to Svatové is under our control, but periodically under fire." This is what Denis Pushilin, head of the separatist stronghold of Donetsk, said on Telegram this Friday, September 30. An announcement made in the morning, a few hours before the formalization by Vladimir Putin, from the Kremlin, of the annexation by Moscow of four Ukrainian regions after so-called referendums, denounced by the West and organized in a hurry in the face of gains territorial troops of kyiv.

Denis Pushilin admitted that the villages of Yampil and Drobychevé, close to Lyman, in the oblast of Donetsk, "are not under the total control" of Moscow, describing the situation as "worrying". "Our guys are fighting, we are replenishing reserves, we have to hold on, but the enemy has also launched serious forces" into the battle, Denis Pouchiline continued. "This is very unpleasant news, but we have to look at the situation with sobriety and draw conclusions from our mistakes," he added.

At the end of the day, this Friday, Denis Pouchiline was even more alarmist. Russian soldiers partially surrounded in the strategic town of Lyman, controlled since the end of May 2022 by the Russians, are fighting "at the end of their tether" and the situation there is "difficult", he told local media quoted by Russian agencies, on the sidelines of a rally in downtown Moscow celebrating the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions by Russia. "Almost all logistics routes (around Lyman) are under control" of kyiv, the Ukrainian army said in a statement.

A Ukrainian unit engaged in this battle, the 66th mechanized brigade, for its part announced on Facebook that it had captured the village of Chtchourové, five kilometers southwest of Lyman. Another sign indicating the progress of the Ukrainian armed forces in the east of the country, even if the rhythm is no longer that of the reconquest launched at the beginning of September.

The locality of Lyman, approximately 20,000 inhabitants, is an important railway junction, crucial for transporting troops and materials for the offensive in the Donbass. As Liberation reminds us, this city is located only about twenty kilometers from Sloviansk (100,000 inhabitants) and therefore within artillery range. If this one had come to fall, Kramatorsk, Ukrainian capital of the not annexed part of Donetsk, would have had difficulty in holding.

As Courrier International reports, Reserve Colonel Roman Svitan, a Ukrainian military expert, believes that "Lyman is a city that is just waiting to be surrounded, when you look at the configuration on the combat map". He explains his thinking to the television channel 24: "To the south, Lyman is bordered by the Siverskiy Donets, and on the right bank of this river, we have a powerful group." But "nobody is going to launch a frontal assault on the city, even if it is the scene of sporadic clashes. However, soon enough, either Lyman will be surrounded, or the Russians will flee on their own." A defeat of the Kremlin troops in Lyman would also be an opportunity for the Ukrainians to seize a significant amount of equipment, since the city served as a rear base for Russian operations in the Donbass.

As early as September 10, after kyiv announced several advances in its counter-offensive, Denis Pushilin already acknowledged in a video on Telegram that the situation was "quite difficult" in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine, particularly in Lyman, "as in a number of other localities in the north of the People's Republic" of Donetsk (DNR).

Last May, recalls Liberation, the Russian forces had attacked Lyman with Grad rockets and missiles. They went so far as to use thermobaric weapons, with a devastating blast effect, and usually used to destroy bunkers. On May 29, Lyman, largely deserted by its inhabitants, fell into the hands of Moscow. Not for much longer?

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