Over several days, the Ukrainian troops were advancing north of the occupied city of Lyman while controlling the territory south of the city. Lyman is one of the key cities in the Russian defense line in the occupied northwest of Donetsk Oblast.
This morning many Russian military bloggers and propagandists claimed that Ukraine has finally surrounded Lyman cutting off the last escape route to the east last night.
Russian propagandist Aleksandr Kots of Komsomolskaya Pravda reports an “operational encirclement” of the Russian forces near Lyman:
“Unfortunately, the news on Lyman isn’t very good [for Russians]. The city is actually in an operational encirclement. DRGs (Ukrainian saboteur groups, – Ed.) are now getting to the supply road towards Svatove. Part of it is under the control of Ukrainian artillery. Yampil in the morning is actually in the “gray zone” as our [Russian] units had to move away. In Drobysheve, the [Russian] defense line has been broken. The situation in the area of Krasnyi Lyman (Lyman’s Soviet-era name, – Ed.) is critical,” Kots wrote.
The Russian military-linked Telegram channel Dva Mayora calls the situation not an “operational encirclement” but a cauldron using the WWII-times Soviet term for the strategic-level concentration of fully pocketed troops:
“Our [Russian] units are defending Krasny Lyman being surrounded. A cauldron. Reinforcements were cut off from the city, couldn’t approach. BARS (the so-called Bars-13 volunteer unit Russian Legion, – Ed.), NM LNR (Russia’s Luhansk colonial army, – Ed.), and the 20th [Guards Combined Arms Army] of the Russian Armed Forces remained in the city.”
The information hasn’t yet been officially confirmed by Ukraine, but a number of similar details reported by Russian sources suggest that it might be true.
Today’s footage confirms the liberation of Yampil, a town to the southeast of Lyman:
Ukrainian military expert Mykola Bielieskov commented on Twitter:
“As [Ukraine] completed envelopment of [the Russian] forces in Lyman it’s interesting why [the Russian] forces there were not allowed to withdraw with fighting when it became evident that RU forces were not able to hold current positions. It seems that political considerations of ‘no step back’ intervened.”
He added that the Ukrainian advances around Lyman weren’t as swift as in the case of the Balakliia-Kupiansk offensive operation. Thus, the Russians had enough time to withdraw with fighting when it became evident that there were no forces to hold their positions, “but political considerations prevailed.”
Ukrainian journalist Yuri Butusov publishes a drone shot allegedly showing Russian troops trying to escape encirclement in Zarichne near Lyman and make it to Torske (https://t.co/h6hA0ZP7zI). Can be geolocated here: 49.021038, 37.949980 @GeoConfirmed pic.twitter.com/ER7tOrNLfN
— Mark Krutov (@kromark) September 30, 2022
The Ukrainian Army has encircled Russian troops in Lyman, spokesman of Ukraine’s Operative Command South Serhiy Cherevatyi told Hromadske.
“Measures are underway to complete the encirclement of Russian troops in the area of Lyman, almost all logistics routes are under the fire control of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Cherevatyi said.
However, as he told Suspilne, battles are still ongoing, so videos of Ukrainian soldiers raising flags above settlements does not mean they are fully controlled.
According to Cherevatyi, the Russian army was much more fortified near Lyman.
“While we ‘broke’ them near [the earlier offensive near] Kharkiv and they fled, then near Lyman the enemy is more fortified and the units were well prepared and motivated. That’s why it took time, but our General Staff and the headquarters on the ground outplayed them tactically: planning and conducting the operation as military men of high level of experience and training,” he noted.
The encirclement of Russian troops near Lyman was also confirmed by Denis Pushilin, the leader of Russia’s puppet “Donetsk People’s Republic,” who admitted they were “half-encircled.’