On Friday Vladimir Putin signed a decree which fold the four annexed regions into the Russian Federation and warned an attack on those areas is an attack on Moscow making a veiled threat of a nuclear attack.
On Saturday Ukrainian forces are continuing to punch through Russian defences and now have “surrounded” around 5,500 troops in the key city of Lyman.
The city of Lyman is strategically important as this will be the “next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbas,” which will be humiliating for Putin and the Kremlin.
Further south the Ukrainian forces have also “trapped” around 7,000 Russian troops in Kharkiv and are on the wrong side of the Dnipro River.
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Kharkiv is also strategically important for the Ukrainian forces as it will therefore enable them to launch a counteroffensive in Crimea to re-capture the vast area of land.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed that Russian forces will “simply be exterminated.”
Speaking to Politico, Mykhailo Podolyak who the advisor to President Zelensky said, “The mobilisation shows that Russia has run out of a professional army.
“This army is being replaced by absolutely untrained people. A living resource has been thrown onto the front lines, and it will simply be exterminated.”
Lyman is completely encircled. All the Russians who didn't manage to flee are trapped. 🇺🇦
Annexation, they said? Including DPR as one of the subjects of Russian Federation? pic.twitter.com/u0JoLBTpSd
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) October 1, 2022
Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces, said, “The Russian grouping in the area of Lyman is surrounded.
“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.”
On Saturday morning fierce fighting was reported in the area and Cherevatyi claimed that Russian troops were asking their commanders if they can retreat, but they were ordered to hold their positions.
Military analyst Konrad Muzyka told The Moscow Times, “Even if the city isn’t already enveloped, all the routes or roads out of the city are under Ukrainian artillery fire.
“Without Russian reinforcements, the city and the entire area is going to fall to Ukraine.”
An expert has said he believes that Ukraine will retake one of these newly annexed, Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.
Ben Hodges, a retired United States Army officer who served as commanding general, United States Army Europe, told the Express.co.uk how Ukraine devised a “deception plan.”
Hodges said, “This was thorough planning. The deception plan, all of us were waiting for this big offensive in Kherson because the Ukrainians kept talking about it. The Russians even shifted forces down to Kherson, only for Ukraine to attack areas near Kharkiv.
“That’s where they had success because the Russians shifted forces away from Kharkiv.
“Now you have 7,000 Russian soldiers potentially trapped on the Ukrainian side of the Dnipro river (near Kherson).
“The Ukrainians have also been knocking out bridges to make it difficult for Russians to be resupplied or for them to evacuate with equipment.
“The Ukrainians are going to be patient here, they have Russian soldiers fixed, they cannot get help. They don’t want to turn Kherson into Mariupol by destroying it, so I think they will look for ways to wear down the Russians that are there.
“There’s no need to have to fight in Kherson yet it seems to me.”