Kyiv [Ukraine], October 2 (ANI): Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday declared that the key eastern city of Lyman is "fully cleared" of Russian forces, reported Ukrainian media portal The Kyiv Independent.
Zelensky's announcement comes a day after the Russian Defence Ministry said that Russian troops and the Donbas militias have pulled out of the city of Krasny Lyman in the Donetsk Oblast amid the emerging threat of encirclement from Ukrainian forces.
"Due to the emerging threat of encirclement, the allied troops have withdrawn from the settlement of Krasny Lyman and deployed to more advantageous positions," Russian news outlet RT quoted the statement from the ministry.
The head of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, said that the city had been "half-encircled" by the Ukrainian troops and the situation in the city was "alarming".
The Russian military said that the Ukrainian forces lost more than 200 soldiers, five tanks, and five infantry fighting vehicles during the attack on Krasny Lyman. Despite the losses, the Ukrainian command sent in reserves and reached "considerable superiority in men and material" in the direction of the attack, RT reported.
"The Russian forces in Krasny Lyman had been encircled," a representative of the Ukrainian operational command 'East', Sergey Cherevaty said. He also said that the Ukrainian troops seized five settlements near Lyman, including the town of Yampol, located southeast, RT reported quoting Ukraine media.
The announcement came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin unilaterally declared the annexation of four eastern and southern Ukrainian regions.
Russian troops and Donbas forces had occupied the city of Krasny Lyman in late May this year. The city is located on the DPR's northern edge not far from Ukraine's Kharkiv region, which saw its eastern part captured by Ukrainian troops in early September.
On Friday, Putin formally announced the annexation of four regions - Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia and claimed that "this is the will of millions of people," media reports said.
Putin said the residents in the four annexed regions will now be Russia's "citizens forever".He denied seeking revival of the Soviet Union by the said annexation, Putin accused Western states - which have imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
Moreover, in a strong statement, Putin also added that Russia would now defend its new territory "with all the means at its disposal."Following Putin's announcement, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his country is submitting an "accelerated" application to join the NATO military alliance.
"We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine's application for accelerated accession to NATO," reported Al Jazeera quoted Zelenskyy as saying.
Russia's annexation had sparked wide criticism from around the world. The western leaders condemned it, termed it "illegal" and vowed that they will "never recognize" these areas. (ANI)