Russia announced on Saturday that its forces had taken full control of the Ukrainian town of Lyman, a railway hub in the Donetsk area, paving the way for the next phase of the Kremlin’s attack in the eastern Donbas.
For several days, Ukrainian and Russian soldiers have been engaged in combat for Lyman. The hamlet is located 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Sievierodonetsk, the main city still controlled by Ukraine in the Donbas region, which is now under intensive assault by Russian forces.
The governor of the Luhansk region, which, along with Donetsk, comprises the Donbas, announced on Friday that Russian soldiers had penetrated Sievierodonetsk, the epicentre of the principal Russian attack.
The Russian advances imply a change in the war’s momentum.
Although the forces that invaded Ukraine on February 24 were unable to conquer Kyiv in the early stages of the battle, they are making gradual but steady inroads in the Donbas, where huge portions were already under the control of Moscow-backed rebels prior to the war.
The tactics consist of massive artillery barrages and airstrikes that have devastated cities.
If Russia were to successfully seize control of these regions, the Kremlin would undoubtedly view it as a significant political triumph and portray it to the Russian people as justification for the invasion, the British defence ministry warned in its daily intelligence briefing on Saturday.
According to a British source, Russian soldiers “likely” secured the majority of Lyman, and the Russian Defense Ministry announced late Saturday that they had seized complete control of the city.
Russia also stated on Saturday that Ukrainian command posts in Bakhmut and Soledar were destroyed by missile attacks. Both cities are located on a major road that runs southwest from Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk.
Lyman is a railroad junction and the gateway to the rail and road bridges that span the Siverskyy Donets River.
According to the British briefing, a bridgehead near Lyman would provide Russia an advantage in the hypothetical next phase of the Donbas offensive if it were to materialise. It was predicted that Russian soldiers would attempt to cross the river in the coming days.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported on Saturday that Ukrainian forces had repelled eight attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk in the preceding twenty-four hours. It was stated that Russia’s attacks included artillery assaults in the Sievierodonetsk region “without success.”