As the months-long conflict in Ukraine rages on, reports indicate that Russian troops have succeeded in seizing control of the town of Lyman, a development viewed by many as significant to their desired advance on additional cities in the eastern part of the country, as Fox News reports.
The town’s capture was announced by Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov, and its tactical relevance was echoed in a memo issued by the U.K. Ministry of Defense.
“Lyman is strategically important because it is the site of a major railway junction, and also gives access to important rail and road bridges over the Siverskyy Donets River,” the communication explained.
According to the U.K.’s report, the position can now be used to great advantage by Russian troops wishing to intensify their offensive in the Donbas region.
“In the coming days, Russian units in the area are likely to prioritise forcing a crossing of the river. For now, Russia’s main effort likely remains 40 km to the east, around the Sieverodonetsk pocket, but a bridgehead near Lyman would give Russia an advantage in the potential next phase of the Donbas offensive…,” the document declared.
As CBS News further noted, Lyman’s pre-invasion population stood at roughly 20,000 residents, and the town is known as a regional rail transit hub.
Given that the railway system in Ukraine has continued to move weapons and conduct citizen evacuations since late February, when the conflict commenced, Russia’s control of this critical zone could enable deeper encroachments in larger cities that have yet to fall under its sway.
The Kremlin over the weekend reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in telephone discussions Saturday with the leaders of Germany and France, blasting ongoing weapons transfers from the West to Ukraine, though it was also said that he also “affirmed the openness of the Russian side to the resumption of dialogue” to bring about a resolution to the conflict.
Even so, British officials noted that Russian gains in Donetsk and Luhansk may be serving to embolden Putin, and if his troops “did succeed in taking over those areas, it would highly likely be seen by the Kremlin as a substantive political achievement and be portrayed to the Russian people as justifying the invasion.”