As part of the Ukrainian counter-offensive in eastern Ukraine, the country's military was encircling the Russian-occupied town of Lyman.

To avoid containment, the Russian occupation forces withdrew from the city, which was seen as a major setback as the city is a strategically important railway hub.

According to British intelligence, Russia suffered heavy losses when the city was abandoned.

Images collected by the BBC team show bodies of dead Russian soldiers lining the roads leading into the city.

"Hardest to survive the bombing"

At the same time, civilians testify to the BBC about what life was like during the Russian invasion and later occupation of the city.

- The hardest part was surviving the bombing.

The grenades exploded and we prayed when we were down in the basement.

We didn't eat regularly and we couldn't even make tea, says Lena, a resident of Lyman.

Annexed by Russia

Russia considers the entire region of Luhansk, where Lyman is located, to belong to Russia.

After a rigged referendum, Russia decided last week to annex Luhansk and four other regions in violation of international law, even though Russian forces only control parts of the areas.

See photos from the city of Lyman in the video above.