Russia withdraws troops after Ukrainian forces encircle key city

Russia withdraws troops after Ukrainian forces encircle key city

Ukrainian soldiers fire in the recently retaken Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region (AP)

Russia said it has withdrawn its troops from the once-occupied city of Lyman, as Ukraine’s eastern counter-offensive recaptures more territory.

The announcement came through the Tass and RIA news agencies, citing the Russian defence ministry.

Lyman is 100 miles south-east of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

A Ukrainian policeman collects fragments in the crater to determine the type of ammunition after a Russian attack ruined a railway depot in Kharkiv (AP)

Ukrainian forces had pushed across the Oskil River as part of a counter-offensive that saw Kyiv retake vast swathes of territory beginning in September.

Lyman, a key transportation hub, had been an important site in the Russian front line for both ground communications and logistics.

With that barrier overcome, Ukraine can potentially push further into the occupied Luhansk region, which is one of four regions that Russia annexed on Friday after an internationally criticised referendum vote at gunpoint.

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