Ukraine claims it has Russian forces in the key eastern city of Lyman completely surrounded, and that they have eliminated close to 60,000 Russian personnel since February.
Serhiy Haidai, the Ukrainian government’s governor for Luhansk Oblast — currently under near-total Russian control — claims that around 5,000 Russians are trapped in Lyman, in the neighbouring Donetsk Oblast, according to Ukrainian media.
“As of October 1, 2022, the Russian military stationed in Lyman appealed to their command with a request to withdraw but got a refusal. Over 5,000 Russian troops are now encircled,” Haidai wrote on Telegram, suggesting surrender or a bloody attempt at a breakthrough were now the Russians’ only choices.
“Lyman is important because it is the next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbas. It is an opportunity to go further to Kreminna and Sievierodonetsk, and it is psychologically very important,” explained Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesman for Ukraine’s eastern forces, in comments quoted by euronews.
The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War predicted that the Ukrainians would take the city within three days on September 30th.
The news comes as the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) say they have eliminated “about 59,610” Russian personnel since the general invasion of the country in February, according to Ukrinform, including over 500 in the last day.
“Between February 24, 2022 and October 1, 2022, the enemy’s total combat losses included also 2,354 tanks (+16 over the past day), 4,949 armoured fighting vehicles (+17), 1,397 artillery systems (+6), 336 multiple launch rocket systems (+3), 176 anti-aircraft warfare systems, 264 aircraft, 226 helicopters (+1), 3,786 motor vehicles and fuel tanks (+18), 15 warships/boats, 1,009 unmanned aerial vehicles (+6), 131 special equipment units. A total of 246 enemy cruise missiles were shot down,” the state media outlet reported, citing a Facebook post on the AFU’s official account.
The Russians, meanwhile, claim to have eliminated “up to 200 nationalists, 23 units of military equipment and over 30 tonnes of ordnance for cannon-launched and rocket artillery near Kramatorsk” in the north of the Donetsk region with missile strikes, and to have destroyed “the workshops for assembling Ukrainian Grom-2 and Tochka-U operational-tactical missiles” at sites further into the country’s interior.
Such claims, as with many Ukrainian claims about enemy losses, are near-impossible to verify in the current environment.