Russia's claimed annexations could signal new phase of conflict

Ukrainian soldiers near Lyman, Ukraine, on September 22. 
Ukrainian soldiers near Lyman, Ukraine, on September 22.  (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times/Redux)

Ukrainian forces have entered Stavky, a village neighboring Lyman in the Kramatorsk district of Donetsk, Serhii Cherevatyi, the military spokesperson for the eastern grouping of Ukrainian forces, told local media on Saturday.

“The Russian group in the area of Lyman is surrounded. The settlements of Yampil, Novoselivka, Shandryholove, Drobysheve, and Stavky are liberated. Stabilization measures are ongoing there,” Cherevatyi said in a televised press conference. 

“[The liberation] of Lyman is important, because it is another step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbass. This is an opportunity to go further to Kreminna and Severodonetsk. Therefore, in turn, it is psychologically very important,” he said.  

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Cherevatyi said the Ukrainian troops actions are setting the tone to “break the course of these hostilities.” 

“Yes, there are many killed and wounded among them. However, the operation is not yet complete. And only after its completion, the headquarters will conduct an analysis and give more significant results,” he said.

Serhiy Hayday, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, also spoke Saturday with further details on the Lyman takeover, suggesting Russian forces had offered to retreat, but to no avail from the Ukrainian side. 

“Occupiers asked [their command] for possibility to retreat, and they have been refused,” Hayday said.  

“There are several thousand of them. Yes, about 5,000. There is no exact number yet. Five thousand is still a colossal grouping. There has never been such a large group in the encirclement before. All routes for the supply of ammunition or the retreat of the group are all completely blocked,” he added. 

A Ukrainian member of Parliament and deputy head of the parliament’s committee on national security, Yurii Mysiagin, referenced the move into Stavky on Saturday by publishing a video on social media platform Telegram showing a Ukrainian tank moving up the road with a clear sign indicating the region of Stavky. CNN could not independently verify the original source or the date. 

There has been no official Russian response to the fighting in the region.  

 

source: cnn.com