The Ukrainian army entered Lyman, a strategic city in eastern Ukraine, in the Donetsk region on Saturday, whose annexation the day before by Moscow was strongly condemned by kyiv and the West.

The announcement was made in the middle of the afternoon: “Ukrainian air assault forces are entering Lyman, Donetsk region,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

Flag and smiles

In a one-minute video that accompanies the message, two Ukrainian soldiers are seen waving and then hanging the light blue and yellow national flag next to the "Lyman" sign at the entrance to the city.

“We unfurl our national flag and put it on our territory.

Lyman will always be part of Ukraine, ”says one of the two soldiers, smiling.

Withdrawal or leak?

“Threatened to be surrounded, the allied troops were withdrawn from Lyman towards more favorable lines”, for its part indicated in a press release the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Earlier on Saturday, the Ukrainian army claimed to have "encircled" several thousand Russian soldiers in this city in the Donetsk region, annexed by Russia on Friday.

According to a spokesperson, “about 5,000-5,500 Russians” had been entrenched in recent days in and around Lyman, an important regional rail hub.

Reacting to the Russian withdrawal from the city, the leader of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, denounced the "nepotism" reigning in the Russian army and called on Moscow to use "low-power nuclear weapons" in Ukraine, without taking “Western American Community Account”.

Diplomatic response

Following the annexation of four Ukrainian regions by Moscow, kyiv announced to seize the International Court of Justice (ICJ), urging it "to take up the case as soon as possible".

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also announced that he would "sign Ukraine's candidacy for accelerated NATO membership", a decision supported by the United States and Canada.

“We strongly support the entry into NATO of countries which wish to join and which can bring their capacities to it”, declared the American Secretary of State Antony Blinken, while recalling “the process to be followed” for the candidate States .

“Victory will be ours”

Friday evening, Russian President Vladimir Putin for his part concluded a day of ceremonies for the annexation of Ukrainian territories.

"The victory will be ours," he said, microphone in hand, in front of several thousand people gathered for a festive concert on Red Square in Moscow.

Leaders of European Union countries issued a statement on Friday "rejecting" and "condemning the illegal annexation" of Ukraine's four regions.

These annexations make "much more difficult, almost impossible, the end of the war", estimated Saturday the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, calling on Europe to strengthen its military arsenal, "it is necessary, essential for the survival”.

“Russia is losing” the war, “it has lost it in moral and political terms”, but “Ukraine has not yet won”, he judged.

Veto and general mobilization

NATO denounced an “illegitimate” annexation, while in New York the UN Security Council considered a resolution condemning “pseudo-annexations” in Ukraine, which was immediately blocked by a Russian veto .

US President Joe Biden has vowed that the United States and its allies will not be "bullied" by Vladimir Putin.

The recent military successes on the Ukrainian side have also prompted the Russian president to decree a “partial” mobilization of hundreds of thousands of civilian reservists, in an attempt to stem the dynamics of kyiv.

Bloody withdrawal

On the ground, 24 civilians including 13 children were found dead, shot dead in their cars near Kupiansk, in northeastern Ukraine, said Saturday the governor of the Kharkiv region, Oleg Synegoubov.

AFP had seen at least 11 people dead on Friday at the site.

And according to Oleksandr Starukh, head of the military administration of the Zaporizhia region, the death toll from the strike that targeted a line of cars in the transit center of this southern Ukrainian city on Friday rose to 31 (30 civilians and a policeman) with the death of an injured woman.

"Illegal detention"

Ukraine also condemned the "illegal detention" of the general manager of the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant, Igor Murachov, arrested for a reason still unknown on Friday by Russia, which controls the site.

kyiv called for his "immediate release" from "a new act of state terrorism by Russia".

According to the boss of the Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom, Petro Kotin, Mr. Murachov was arrested by a “Russian patrol” around 4:00 p.m. Russians.

Still according to him, the vehicle transporting the director of the plant was stopped and the latter was extracted from the car then “drove, blindfolded, towards an unknown destination”.


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War in Ukraine: Russia in difficulty on the ground, Putin ratifies the annexation of the occupied regions

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