Kyiv, UKRAINE (AP) — Russia on Saturday withdrew troops from a city in eastern Ukraine it was using as a front-line stronghold after being besieged by Ukrainian forces.Humiliating was the latest victory of the Ukrainian counterattack angered the Kremlin.
Russia’s withdrawal from Lyman complicates internationally defamed move annexed four regions of Ukraine, The Ukrainian military could make further inroads into land now illegally claimed by Moscow.
the battle will come soon A pivotal moment in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warFaced with Ukraine’s victory on the battlefield, Putin this week raised the threat of nuclear forces and used his most aggressive and anti-Western rhetoric yet.
The Russian defense ministry said it had inflicted damage on Ukrainian forces in the battle to hold Lyman, but said Russian forces had withdrawn to more favorable positions. Russia’s announcement said the Ukrainian Air Force had moved to Lyman, and came shortly after the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff posted a photo of the Ukrainian flag hoisted on the outskirts of town.
An important transport hub, Lyman was an important node for both ground communications and logistics on the Russian frontline. Lyman, located 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Kharkov, Ukraine’s second-largest city, in the Donetsk region near the border with the Luhansk region, was annexed by Russia on Friday after a “referendum” held at gunpoint.
Ukrainian forces recaptured vast tracts of territory in a counteroffensive that began in September, pushing Russian forces out of the Kharkov area and moving east across the Oskir River towards Lyman and other strategic points.
Meanwhile, Russian artillery fire has intensified in recent days as Moscow moved swiftly to annex it and ordered massive domestic mobilizations to bolster its forces.
In the northeast, Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian forces of attacking a civilian evacuation convoy, killing 20 people, including children. In the south, a Ukrainian nuclear power plant said on Saturday that Russian forces had blindfolded and detained the director of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his army have vowed to continue fighting to liberate annexed territories and other Russian-occupied territories despite Putin’s seizure of four regions on Friday. rice field.
Ukrainian officials on Saturday accused Russian forces of recently targeting two humanitarian aid convoys and killing dozens of civilians.
Kharkiv governor Olev Sinievbov said 24 civilians were killed in an attack on a convoy of people trying to flee the Kupiansk district earlier this week, calling it an “unjustifiable atrocity”. He said 13 children and pregnant women had died.
“The Russians opened fire on civilians at near point-blank range,” Syniehubov wrote on the messaging app Telegram.
The Ukrainian Security Service, known by the acronym SBU, posted a photo of the convoy that was attacked. At least he had one truck seemingly blown up, leaving a charred corpse in the truck bed. Another vehicle at the head of the convoy was also on fire. Bodies lay on the side of the road or in cars with bullet holes that looked like pockmarks.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the rockets destroyed Ukrainian military targets in the area, but did not comment on accusations of targeting fleeing civilians. Russian forces have withdrawn from much of the Kharkov area amid successful Ukrainian counterattacks, but continue to bombard the area.
In an apparent attempt to secure Moscow’s control over the newly annexed territory, Russian forces Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant, according to the Ukrainian state-owned nuclear power company Energoatom, around 4 p.m. on Friday in Ikhor Murashov. That was just hours after Putin signed a treaty to absorb Moscow-controlled Ukrainian territories into Russia, including the area surrounding the nuclear power plant.
Energoatom said Russian forces stopped Murashov’s car, blindfolded him, and took him to an undisclosed location.
Russia did not publicly comment on the report. The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday that Russia said “the director of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant has been temporarily detained to answer questions.” The Vienna-based agency did not immediately elaborate.
The power plant was repeatedly involved in war firefights. Ukrainian engineers continued to generate electricity even after Russian troops occupied the plant. the last reactor It was closed in September as a precautionary measure while shelling continued nearby.
In the heaviest barrage in weeks, Russian forces hit a Ukrainian city on Friday with missiles, rockets and suicide drones, killing 30 and wounding 88 in a single attack in the capital of the Zaporizhia region. .
At its daily briefing on Saturday, the UK Defense Ministry said the Russians had “almost certainly” attacked the humanitarian convoy with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. Officials stationed by Russia in Zaporizhia accused the Ukrainian military, but provided no evidence.
In other fighting reported on Saturday, Russian artillery fire in the Donetsk region on Friday killed four and wounded six, Governor Pablo Kirilenko reported.
Russian forces attacked the city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine twice during the night. The first was a drone and the second was a missile, said the provincial governor, Vitaliy Kim. Five people, including a three-month-old baby, were injured.
Russia now claims more than 15% of Ukraine’s sovereignty after Friday’s land requisition, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called it “the largest attempted annexation of European territory by force since World War II.” ” is called. He added that the war was at a “pivotal moment”.
Zelensky formally applied for NATO membership on Friday, putting pressure on Western allies to defend Ukraine.
In Washington, President Joe Biden on Friday signed into law a bill that would provide an additional injection of military and economic aid to Ukraine.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine. https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine