Day after the annexation, fleeing Russians give the Luhansk keys

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KYIV ($1=36.95 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — Videos from Kremina appeared on the Telegram social network on Saturday, notably on the Ukraine 365 account. The Russian occupation administration in the Luhansk region appears to be collapsing, just a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed it, along with three other occupied territories of the Russian Federation.

Photo credit: AP

The next town in sight is Rubizhne, by occupying which Ukrainian forces could create space for a new enclave, namely the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk-Lysychansk. It had been hard fought for in the previous months.

The successful encirclement of occupation forces in Lyman, where Ukrainian soldiers raised their flag on Saturday afternoon, has most likely set off a chain reaction, and the Kremena breakout could be just the beginning.

In one of the published videos, a Russian occupation soldier admits that he and his comrades fled Kremena because he was afraid. “We left from Kremena. It’s scary, really scary,” he assessed the situation.

According to messages on Telegram, the Russian public is unhappy with the development of the situation. The Russians themselves are speculating that the front in Donbass is beginning to fall apart. The Ukrainian General Staff has not yet commented on the possible entry into the territory of the Luhansk region, but if the speculations are confirmed, it will be a great success for the Ukrainian army.

For Russian forces, Lyman serves as an important logistical hub for coordinating their forces on the northern front of the Donbass battlefield. According to Serhiy Cherevatiy, a spokesman for Ukrainian forces in the east, the capture of the city is an important step in the Ukrainian offensive.

“Lyman is important because it is the next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbass. This is an opportunity to go further to Kremena and Sievierodonetsk, and this is psychologically very important,” he said.

It is estimated that there are up to 5,500 Russian soldiers in the Ukrainian encirclement, including wounded and killed. “Some are surrendering, they have many killed and wounded, but the operation is not over yet,” Cherevatiy said, adding that a more accurate toll would be known only after the Lyman operation was completed.

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 21 February 2022, the Russian government claimed that Ukrainian shelling had destroyed an FSB border facility on the Russia Ukraine border. Moscow also claimed that it had killed 5 Ukrainian soldiers who tried to cross into Russian territory. Ukraine denied being involved in both incidents and called them a false flag.

Photo credit: AP

On the same day, the Russian government formally recognized the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR as independent states. According to Putin not only in their de-facto controlled areas, but the Ukrainian Oblasts as a whole. Putin ordered Russian troops, including tanks, to enter the regions.

On 24 February 2022, Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces previously concentrated along the border. The invasion followed by targeted airstrikes of military buildings in the country. The invasion followed also by targeted tanks entering via Belarus border.

Russia has so far not recognized the invasion of Ukraine as a “war”, although that is exactly what it is, claiming that it is a “special military operation”. According to the UN, in which Russia has its permanent representation, for military action to be defined as a “special military operation”, it must have a resolution issued by the UN. There is no such resolution, which automatically defines the military actions of the Russians as an invasion and war against the citizens of Ukraine.

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