Oct 1, 2022 - World

Russia withdraws troops from Lyman as Ukraine gains ground in annexed city

Black smoke is seen over the city of Lyman, Donetsk region.

Black smoke is seen over the city of Lyman, Donetsk region. Photo: Anatolii Stepanov//AFP via Getty Images

Russia said Saturday it had withdrawn troops from the city of Lyman as Ukraine's military inched closer to re-capturing the annexed city, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: The withdrawal comes one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed four regions of Ukraine, including the Donetsk region where Lyman is located.

The latest: Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the southern Chechnya region who describes himself as a footsoldier of Putin, said called for more drastic measures, per Reuters.

  • "In my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, right up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons," Kadyrov wrote on Telegram.

Details: Ukraine’s Defense Ministry confirmed on Twitter Saturday that its forces had entered the city.

  • In a video posted by the ministry, two soldiers can be seen unraveling the Ukrainian flag.
  • The ministry said Ukraine's army "has and will always have the decisive vote in today's and any future 'referendums'" — a pointed reference to Putin's annexation.
  • Ukrainian forces are inching closer to capturing the city as unverified footage and photos show Ukraine may have the upper hand, according to the New York Times.
  • Russia's defense ministry told local media that Russia would withdraw from the city, AP reports.

The big picture: Putin claimed in a speech Friday that Russia would annex four regions of Ukraine — Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, Axios' Dave Lawler writes.

  • Russia currently occupies those regions. Putin held stage referendums over the last few days that claimed the Ukrainian people supported the measure.
  • Putin said that the people in those regions "have become our citizens forever."

What we're watching: Ukraine may push into the occupied Luhansk region, which is another region Russia annexed, per AP.

Go deeper: Putin claims 15% of Ukraine is now part of Russia

Go deeper