The town of Lyman in eastern Ukraine comes under Russian control as Putin's forces make gains in the Donbas region.

Iran PressEurope: Lyman is “strategically important” because it is the site of a major railway junction and gives access to important rail and road bridges over the Siverskyy Donets River.

Fall of Lyman follows several days of heavy fighting for control of the town.

A statement from the Russian defense ministry read: “Following the joint actions of the units of the militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Russian armed forces, the town of Lyman has been entirely liberated from Ukrainian nationalists.”

On Friday, Ukraine had said although Russia had captured most of Lyman, its forces were blocking an advance to Sloviansk, a city 12 miles southwest.

An intelligence update from the UK’s Ministry of Defence said the capture of Lyman is “is likely a preliminary operation for the next stage of Russia’s Donbas offensive.”

It expected Russian units now to prioritize forcing a crossing of the river to gain an advantage in the potential next phase of the Donbas offensive when they are likely to advance on vital Ukrainian-held cities Sloviansk and Kramatorsk deeper in the Donetsk region.

Russian forces are also reported to have entered the city of Severodonetsk.

Serhiy Gaidai, Luhansk’s governor, told Ukrainian television there were some 10,000 Russian troops based in the region, and they were “attempting to make gains in any direction they can.”

The General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces reported on Saturday it had repelled eight assaults in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the previous 24 hours.

Russia’s gains in the east of Ukraine follow the withdrawal of its forces from approaching the capital Kyiv and a Ukrainian counter-offensive which pushed its forces back from Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv.

If Russia did succeed in taking over these areas, it would be seen by the Kremlin as “a substantive political achievement and be portrayed to the Russian people as justifying the invasion,” UK MOD said in a war update report.


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