Russian forces on brink of encirclement in Donetsk town

Ukraine: Paratroopers destroy Russian tank and armoured vehicles

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Russian forces are about to be encircled in a Donetsk town in Ukraine, according to reports. Pro-Russian military bloggers sat, Lyman, a small town in Donetsk, is said to be surrounded by Ukrainian troops.

A Russian military telegram channel called Military Observer said on Wednesday afternoon: “Ukrainian soldiers are releasing images of them raising a flag over the village council building in Novosyolovka.

“Thus from the north between Lyman and enemy forward elements of the remains only one settlement, Drobyshevo, and in all just a few kilometres of land.

“The city is in an extremely vulnerable situation.”

Rybar, another Russian military blogger, also said Russian forces had repelled Ukrainian attacks in a number of areas to the north, west, and east of Lyman, but published a map showing Russian control confined to a narrowing salient. could not verify the map, but the reports suggest the Ukrainians are close to closing around the city.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US think tanks, also said in a daily update: “The collapse of the Lyman pocket will likely be highly consequential to the Russian grouping in northern Donetsk and western Luhansk.”

The Russian Defense Ministry’s failure to address these losses “will likely further reduce already-low Russian morale,” it added.

In a daily briefing Wednesday, the Russian Defence Ministry’s spokesman claimed Ukraine’s offensive on Lyman had failed and that 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said on Wednesday its “special military operation” in Ukraine must continue at least until the capture of all of east Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), a breakaway Russian-backed entity that has been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014, controls only part of the wider territory that it claims.

He said: “Therefore it is necessary, as a minimum, to liberate the entire territory of the DPR.”

Russia has framed its military campaign in Ukraine as necessary to protect Russian speakers in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, of which Donetsk makes up half, from “genocide” by Ukraine. 

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Moscow is now poised to annex parts of Ukraine after “referendums” in four occupied regions to join Russia.

Moscow-installed administrations in the four regions of southern and eastern Ukraine claimed on Tuesday night that 93 percent of the ballots cast in the Zaporizhia region supported annexation, as did 87 percent in the Kherson region, 98 percent in the Luhansk region and 99 percent in Donetsk.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry suggested the high margins in favour were widely characterised as a bogus land grab by an increasingly cornered Russian leadership, calling it a “a propaganda show” and “null and worthless”.

They added: “Forcing people in these territories to fill out some papers at the barrel of a gun is yet another Russian crime in the course of its aggression against Ukraine.”

Mr Peskov said Vladimir Putin will hold a signing ceremony “on agreements on the accession of new territories into the Russian Federation” on Friday at 3pm Moscow-time (12pm GMT).

The spokesman said agreements will be signed “with all four territories that held referendums and made corresponding requests to the Russian side”.

The total area set to become de facto part of Russia amounts to about 15 percent of Ukraine and includes an estimated 4 million people.

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