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Russia-Ukraine war: Russians flee Lyman as Ukrainian troops retake city a day after Putin’s illegal annexation – live

Russian defence ministry says troops have withdrawn amid ‘threat of encirclement’

It’s 12pm in Ukraine, here’s the latest:

Ukraine has encircled Russia’s forces around a bastion that is critical for Moscow at the eastern town of Lyman, in an operation that is still under way. Russia’s forces at Lyman totalled about 5,000 to 5,500 soldiers, but the number of encircled troops may have fallen because of casualties and some soldiers trying to break out of the encirclement, according to a spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces.

The Ministry of Defence said Russia’s expansion strategy has resulted in “killing civilians it now claims are its own citizens”.The MoD said Russia is expending “strategically valuable military assets” in attempts to gain tactical advantage.

Ukraine’s president thanked his US counterpart, Joe Biden, on Saturday for signing an additional $12.35 bn (£11bn) in support for Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskiy said “This help is more important today than ever.”

The Ukrainian director-general of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been detained by a Russian patrol, according to Energoatom. The company said his detention on Friday “jeopardises the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.”

Turkey which has been at the centre of mediation between the west and Russia, rejected Russia’s annexation of Ukraine, calling the decision a “grave violation” of international law.

The World Bank said it will provide an additional US$530m in support to Ukraine, bringing the total aid by the bank to $13bn. The aid is supported by the UK ($500m) and Denmark ($30m).

Lyman is important because it is the next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbas. It is an opportunity to go further to Kreminna and Sievierodonetsk, and it is psychologically very important.

The occupiers trapped in Liman asked the Russian command to allow them to leave the city, but were refused.

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