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Russia admits its loss in Lehman.  This is why the Ukrainian city is so important.

Russia admits its loss in Lehman. This is why the Ukrainian city is so important.

Lyman was important to the Russians’ ability to bring in soldiers and supplies. Now the city could become the key to further Ukrainian victories.

A Ukrainian soldier waves from a tank in Kharkiv Oblast in September.

Russia said on Saturday that its soldiers had withdrawn from the eastern Ukrainian town of Lyman.

The letter from the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that due to the encirclement of the Russian soldiers, they were withdrawn to “more advantageous lines”.

It was not independently confirmed that the Russians actually managed to get all the soldiers out. In recent days, it was reported that as many as 5,000 Russian soldiers risked capture while encircling the Lyman.

– Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, on Saturday evening, that fighting is still continuing in Lyman, according to Reuters.

Unfortunately, it is a timely defeat for Putin

The fact that Ukraine managed to retake the city is a huge defeat for Russian President Vladimir Putin. It comes uncomfortably, the day after he announced the annexation of four Ukrainian provinces. One of the districts is Donetsk, where Lyman is located.

The Russian Defense Ministry claims that it inflicted “heavy fire” on Ukrainian forces. The claim has not been confirmed. The Russian Defense Ministry is trying to justify the defeat by saying that the Ukrainians have more soldiers and more equipment and that they have deployed reserve forces.

The map below shows the location in Lyman where Ukrainian forces were about to capture the city.

Since April of this year, Lyman has been critical to logistics and transportation in connection with Russian military operations in Ukraine. The city is the center of the Ukrainian railway network and Russians often use the railways to transport soldiers and supplies.

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The city was devalued as a logistics and transportation hub after the Russians lost ground in the Kharkiv Oblast in early September, according to military experts.

The Ukrainians took thousands of square kilometers in Kharkiv Oblast before stopping on the western side of the Uskil River. The question is whether the victory at Lyman opens the way for the Ukrainians to crush Russian positions on the eastern side of the Oskil River.

The train line that goes up along the eastern side of the Uskil River comes from Lyman.

Russians may have problems in Luhansk

By occupying Lyman, Ukraine also opened the door to further conquests in the east, in the Luhansk Province.

Depending on how the Ukrainians will track progress, the collapse of Lyman could open up potential attacks in the east, Carolina Hurd tells Reuters. She is a researcher at a think tank for the study of war.

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 pass through Bakhmut, a town in Donetsk Oblast that has been the scene of heavy fighting.

Where will the next attack come from?

For their part, the Russians were pressing to capture the city of Pakhmut, west of Luhansk. On Tuesday, the Ukrainian army claimed that it had inflicted “significant losses” on the Russians in Bakhmut. But the Russians continued to fire artillery at the Ukrainians on this part of the front.

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The dilemma for the Russians is that they do not know where the Ukrainians will strike next. Perhaps in the south, where the Ukrainians have said for months that they will try to regain control of Kherson.

Fierce battles have continued in Kherson province, with Russian forces on the right bank of the Dnipro River still at risk, British intelligence wrote earlier this week.

It was this attack in the south that prompted the Russians to push back the troops from Kharkiv towards Kherson. And so they were put to bed when the Ukrainians launched a lightning attack on Kharkiv in the northeast.

However, the Russians succeeded in delaying Ukraine’s advance in the south. The question is whether it can continue.

If the Russians lose there too, there will be approximately 30,000 Russian soldiers who will be evacuated from the war zone on the western bank of the Dnipro River. If not, they will be eliminated or arrested.