Lviv, Ukraine, Oct 1 (EFE).- Ukrainian forces on Saturday took control of five settlements near the eastern town of Lyman, in the Donetsk region, with some 5,000 Russian soldiers encircled by a Kyiv-led counter-offensive.
“As of October 1, 2022, the Russian military stationed in Lyman appealed to their command with a request to withdraw but got a refusal. Over 5,000 Russian troops are now encircled,” Luhansk Regional Military Administration Head Serhii Haidai was quoted as saying by Ukrinform, a Ukrainian news agency.
According to the speaker of the Eastern Group of Forces Sergey Cherevaty, Russian forces near the city of Lyman are completely surrounded.
The towns of Yampil, Novoselivka, Shandrigolove, Drobysheve y Stavky have been liberated from the occupiers, he added, according to the Unian news agency.
Russian forces have been trying to break the Lyman siege with units of the Southern Military District launching attacks on Ukrainian positions, said Rodion Miroshnyk, ambassador to Moscow of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic.
“Liman is under full control of the allied forces,” he stressed, adding that pro-Russian units continued to patrol the city.
The leader of the self-proclaimed people’s republic of Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, admitted Friday that the news coming from Lyman was “alarming” and that the city was “half surrounded”.
Lyman has been under pro-Russian control since May and is a key railway junction leading to Ukraine’s main strongholds in Donetsk: Kramatorsk and Slovyansk.
The Ukrainian Army has stepped up efforts in the east after it regained partial control of the Kharkiv region after Moscow pulled back troops on September 8.
Russia on Friday annexed four occupied territories of Ukraine in what president Vladimir Putin called a “liberating mission.”
Putin was joined by the Russian-installed leaders of the regions in question — Donetsk and Luhansk, swathes of which have been under de facto separatist rule since 2014 — as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, partially occupied by Russia since the invasion this year.
In other news, Ukraine reported on Saturday that the Kremlin used Soviet-era S-300 long-range air defense missiles in a Friday attack on a humanitarian convoy near the city of Zaporizhzhya which left at least 30 dead and over 80 injured.
“Russia’s stock of such missiles is highly likely limited and is a high-value resource designed to shoot down modern aircraft and incoming missiles, rather than for use against ground targets. Its use in ground attack role has almost certainly been driven by overall munitions shortages, particularly longer-range precision missiles,” the United Kingdom’s defense ministry reported.
“Russia is expending strategically valuable military assets in attempts to achieve tactical advantage and in the process is killing civilians it now claims are its own citizens,” the intelligence report adds.
The state-owned Energoatom company on Saturday reported the director of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant had been abducted by Russian forces, Peter Kotin, Energoatom chief, was quoted as saying by Ukrinform.
According to Kotin, Ihor Murashov was captured on Friday when he was forcibly detained, blindfolded and taken away by Russian troops as he was on his way from the plant to Enerhodar.