Ukrainian counter-offensive in the east continues to make gains as Kyiv's forces captured a key town and pushed Russians further back.
Russia also continues to target Ukrainian cities and civilians in long-range strikes even as officials struggle with the mobilisation and deployment of 3,00,000 soldiers who are believed to be key to Russian President Vladimir Putin's plan for the war through the upcoming winter.
Ukraine has defeated the Russian forces in and around Lyman town and have liberated it after months of Russian occupation. Lyman has been a Russian transport and logistics hub. It is among several towns liberated since early September when Ukrainian forces launched a counter-offensive in the east in which they have made some stunning victories.
The loss of Lyman is a new blow to Putin's war efforts as he seeks to escalate the war by illegally annexing four occupied and partially occupied regions of Ukraine and heightening threats to use nuclear weapons.
Ukraine's War current status, latest developments
Besides Lyman that Ukraine recaptured from the Russians, major fighting as of October 2 was ongoing at Spirne, Klynove, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Davydiv Brid, Snihurivka, and Posad-Pokrovs'ke, according to think tank The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which adds that Ukrainian forces have also broken through Russian defensive positions in northeastern Kherson region.
"Ukrainian forces resumed counteroffensives in northern Kherson Oblast and have secured positions in Zolota Balka and Khreshchenivka. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces also liberated Shevchekivka and Lyubymivka, pushing Russian forces to new defensive positions around Mykailivka," reported ISW. Please refer to the maps to understand the situation better.
Tonight's campaign assessment from @TheStudyofWar and @criticalthreats focuses on dramatic changes in the #Russian information space following the Russian defeat around #Lyman and in Kharkiv Oblast and amid the failures of Russia’s partial mobilization. https://t.co/F7e3qpdgwN pic.twitter.com/eWDQJxKWAG— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) October 3, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on Sunday that his forces now control Lyman:."As of 12:30 p.m. (0930 GMT) Lyman is cleared fully. Thank you to our militaries, our warriors," said Zelenskyy.
The British military described the recapture of Lyman as a “significant political setback” for Moscow, and Ukraine appeared to swiftly capitalize on its gains.
Hours after Zelenskyy's announcement, Ukrainian media shared an image of Ukrainian troops carrying the country's yellow-and-blue flag in front of a statue marking the village of Torske, 15 kilometers (9 miles) east of Lyman and within sight of the Russian-held Luhansk region. Shortly later, a video posted online showed one Ukrainian soldier saying that Kyiv's forces had begun to target the city of Kreminna, just across the border in Luhansk. Outgoing artillery could be heard in the background. Russian military correspondents also acknowledged Ukrainian attacks targeting Kreminna.
In a daily intelligence briefing Sunday, the British Defense Ministry called Lyman crucial because it has “a key road crossing over the Siversky Donets River, behind which Russia has been attempting to consolidate its defenses.”
In another online photo, an Ukrainian soldier stood before giant watermelon landmark just south of the village of Novovorontsovka on the banks of the Dnieper River, along the Russian-controlled province of Kherson's northern edge. A Ukrainian flag flew above the statue as several apparently deactivated landmines lay beside it.
While Ukrainian forces did not immediately acknowledge a breakthrough, writers close to the Russian military have described a new offensive by Kyiv in the Kherson region.
In his nightly address, Zelenskyy said, "Over the past week, there have been more Ukrainian flags in the Donbas. In a week there will be even more."
Russian long-range strikes in Ukraine
Russia attacked Zelenskyy's hometown of Krivyi Rih and other targets on Sunday with suicide drones. It destroyed two stories of a school early on Sunday, the regional governor said. The Ukrainian Air Force said on Sunday it shot down five Iranian-made drones overnight, while two others made it through air defenses.
Russian attacks also targeted the city of Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian authorities said on Sunday. Ukraine's military said on Sunday it carried out strikes on multiple Russian command posts, ammunition depots and two S-300 anti-aircraft batteries. The reports of military activity couldn't be immediately verified.
Signs visible of Russian torture, war crimes
The Russian retreat from northeast Ukraine in recent weeks has revealed evidence of widespread, routine torture of both civilians and soldiers, notably in the strategic city of Izium, an Associated Press investigation has found.
AP journalists located 10 torture sites in the town, including a deep pit in a residential compound, a clammy underground jail that reeked of urine, a medical clinic and a kindergarten.
Moreover, the United Nations experts have found signs of beating of detainees, electric shocks, executions, and sexual- and gender-violence even on minors as young as 4-years-old by Russian forces in Ukraine by Russians.
Vladimir Putin pushing war into dangerous quarters
Recent developments have raised fears of all-out conflict between Russia and the West.
Putin frames the recent Ukrainian gains as a US-orchestrated effort to destroy Russia, and last week he heightened threats of nuclear force in some of his toughest, most anti-Western rhetoric to date.
The leaders of Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and Slovakia issued a joint statement Sunday backing a path to NATO membership for Ukraine, and calling on all 30 members of the US-led NATO to ramp up military aid for Kyiv.
Russia moved ahead Sunday with steps meant to make its land grab look like a legal process aimed at helping people allegedly persecuted by Kyiv, with rubber-stamp approval by the Constitutional Court and draft laws being pushed through the Kremlin-friendly parliament.
(With AP inputs)