Ukraine Encircles '5,000 Russian Troops' in Lyman as Putin Faces New Defeat

Ukraine's military has said it has surrounded thousands of Russian troops in a strategic City in the Donetsk Oblast, a day after Vladimir Putin claimed the region as part of Russia.

There are around "5,000 Russian troops encircled in Lyman" according to Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for Ukraine's eastern forces, although this number was only an estimate and could be lower because of casualties.

He said that the nearby settlements of Yampil, Novoselivka, Shandrygolovo, Drobysheve, Stavky "have been liberated, and stabilization measures are ongoing there."

Russian military vehicles
Russian military vehicles move on a highway in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces near Mariupol, Ukraine in this illustrative image from April 18, 2022. Ukraine said on October 1, 2022, its troops have encircled Russian forces in Lyman, in the Donetsk region. Alexei Alexandrov/Associated Press

"This is also a psychologically important moment," he said, according to RBC Ukraine via a translation, adding that Ukrainian troops are "beginning to dictate their will" and "turn the tide of hostilities," and were not just "on the defensive."

Meanwhile, Luhansk's Governor Serhiy Haidai said on his Telegram social media channel that "the occupiers trapped in Lyman asked the Russian command to allow them to leave the city, but were refused."

"The possibilities of delivering ammunition to the Russians to the surrounded city or a peaceful exit from the settlement are already blocked," he added, according to a translation.

"They have options—either to try to break through, or to surrender, or to die with everyone there," he added.

On Friday, the U.S. based think the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) predicted that the city would fall within days, citing how Russian military bloggers had described a "chaotic retreat" from the area by Russian troops.

Ukraine's recapture of Lyman would be a blow for Putin's hopes of controlling the region which was one of four partially occupied regions he confirmed the annexation of in a televised ceremony in the Kremlin's St. George's Hall.

On Friday, Putin said that residents of Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions would be recognized as Russian citizens.

But the prospect of losing Lyman follows Putin's humiliating retreat from Kharkiv last month due to Ukraine's counteroffensive.

Meanwhile, it comes as the U.K. Ministry of Defense (MOD) said that Putin's expansion strategy has resulted in "killing civilians it now claims are its own citizens."

British defense officials said on Saturday that Moscow "almost certainly" struck a convoy outside the city of Zaporizhzhia the previous day with reports that at least 25 people were killed and more than 50 injured.

It said that the munition involved "was likely a Russian long-range air defense missile" which are typically used to shoot down modern aircraft and incoming missiles.

"Its use in ground attack role has almost certainly been driven by overall munitions shortages, particularly longer-range precision missiles," the MOD said.

Newsweek has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.