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It could be a besieged mission city.  Thousands of Russian soldiers might be caught in a pincer maneuver.

It could be a besieged mission city. Thousands of Russian soldiers might be caught in a pincer maneuver.

Putin celebrates in Moscow the illegal annexation of Ukrainian provinces. But in eastern Ukraine, his soldiers may suffer a painful loss.

A Ukrainian soldier displays signs of victory at Izyum in Kharkiv Oblast on September 13.

A month has passed since Ukrainian soldiers liberated large areas of northeastern Ukraine. The Russian occupiers fled recklessly.

Now it appears that Ukrainian soldiers are approaching another important victory. This time it is an important railway junction in the city of Liman in Donetsk Oblast.

3,000 Russian soldiers may be about to get caught up in a Ukrainian pincer maneuver. You might say days, maybe just hours.

For several months, Lyman, in the far north of Donetsk Oblast, was an important hub for transporting supplies by rail to Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. If the Ukrainians manage to capture the city, it will be the most significant victory since the Ukrainians captured large parts of the Kharkiv province in a blunder attack at the beginning of September.

Before the Russian invasion, the city had a population of about 30 thousand. But when the Russians invaded, bombers and missiles destroyed a lot.

The pro-Russian rebels and Russian journalists emphasized that the situation of the Russian soldiers was unstable.

Military experts believe that if the Lyman falls, the possibility opens for Ukraine to recover large parts of Luhansk.

The city is partially enclosed

Russian forces are partly surrounded at Lyman, according to a pro-Russian rebel leader in Donetsk.

At the same time, he asserts that the Ukrainian government forces are in the process of regaining control of the villages in the region.

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Messages from Lyman are annoying. Denis Posselin says on social media that the city is now partially surrounded.

Putin is the leader of the separatist Donetsk region. It took Russian forces several weeks to gain control of Lyman this spring.

News of the fighting around Lyman comes as Russian authorities prepare for a ceremony in Moscow in which Donetsk and three other Ukrainian regions will be officially declared Russian.

Pushlin says that Ukrainian forces are trying to obscure historical integration into Russia.

– Our people are fighting, we are calling for reserve and we must persevere, despite the fact that the enemy has deployed large forces against us, says the Donetsk leader.

Ukrainian soldiers also suffered heavy losses during the fighting in eastern Ukraine. The photo was taken in Kharkiv Oblast on September 12.

Very difficult situation

Russian war correspondent Semyon Pegov writes that the enclave in which Russian soldiers are located in Lyman is about to be closed.

– The situation is very difficult, Begov wrote according to the American magazine Forbes.

3,000 Russian soldiers may continue to break out of the trap. But the question is whether he will allow them to withdraw.

Konrad Muzika, director of Roshan military consultancy in Poland, told Reuters that the Russians are trying to delay the Ukrainian advance as much as possible so that they can create and modernize defensive lines between Sevgerodonetsk and the border with Russia.

Ukrainian opens to attack on the east

In the past 24 to 48 hours, Ukrainian forces have made significant progress around Lyman, says Carolina Heard, a researcher at the Institute for the Study of War.

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“Depending on how the Ukrainians proceed, the collapse at Lyman could open the way for possible attacks in the east,” she told Reuters.

John Herbst, a former US ambassador to Ukraine, says that if Lehman fell, it would at least complicate the Russians’ military position in northeastern Ukraine.

– He told Reuters that would potentially jeopardize their ability to hold Luhansk.

Ukrainian soldiers smile near Kharkiv on September 12.

Herbst believes that Luhansk is the only region Ukraine can retake in the next four to six weeks. Military experts have previously said that Ukraine should try to capture as much territory as possible in the coming weeks, before Russia can send in the 300,000 troops mobilized by Putin.

It remains to be seen how effective the newly mobilized soldiers will be.

If the Russians lose Lehman around the same time that the Russians implemented an illegal annexation of four new Ukrainian provinces, it would show how far the Kremlin is from reality, says Seth Jones of the Center for Research, International Studies and Security in Washington. .

Through sham referendums, Putin is trying to secure control of the areas he is about to lose. He told Reuters that losing Lyman would mean another setback to Putin’s goal of completely capturing Donbass.