LYMAN, Ukraine (AP) — Russian troops abandoned a key Ukrainian city so rapidly that they left the bodies of their comrades in the streets, offering more evidence Tuesday of Moscow’s latest military defeat as it struggles to hang on to four regions of Ukraine that it illegally annexed last week.
Responding to the move, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy formally ruled out talks with Russia, declaring that negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin are impossible after his decision to take over the regions.
The Kremlin replied by saying that it will wait for Ukraine to agree to sit down for talks, noting that it may not happen until a new Ukrainian president takes office.
Over the weekend, Russian troops pulled back from Lyman, a strategic eastern town that the Russians had used as a logistics and transport hub, to avoid being encircled by Ukrainian forces.
Speaking late Tuesday in his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said dozens of settlements had been retaken “from the Russian pseudo-referendum this week alone” in the four annexed regions.
The deputy head of the Russian-backed regional administration in Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, told Russian TV that Ukrainian troops made “certain advances” from the north, and were attacking the region from other sides too.
After reclaiming control of Lyman in the Donetsk region, Ukrainian forces pushed further east and may have gone as far as the border of the neighboring Luhansk region as they advanced toward Kreminna, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said in its latest analysis.
government announced Tuesday that it would give Ukraine an additional $625 million in military aid, including more of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, that are credited with helping Kyiv’s recent military momentum.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Energoatom President Petro Kotin said the company could restart two of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant’s reactors in a matter of days.