Ukrainian forces have reportedly made gains around the town of Lyman as President Vladimir Putin is expected to declare several areas part of Russia.
Ukraine gains ahead of Russian declaration
Ukrainian troops are moving to capture the Russian-held eastern town of Lyman, threatening a new setback for Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin’s campaign in the Donbas as he prepares to declare the region part of Russia.
The capture of the town in the north of Donetsk region could pave the way for Ukraine to make inroads into the adjacent Luhansk province, foiling Russia’s goal of seizing all of the industrial Donbas region declared after its forces failed to subdue the entire country in February, military analysts said.
The regions are among four chunks of eastern and southern Ukrainian territory that Putin is expected on Friday to declare Russian-annexed land after what Ukraine and its allies say were bogus referendums staged at gunpoint.
Putin has said Russia could use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory if necessary.