Ukraine said on Sunday that it had taken full control of the city of Liman, a strategic point in the self-proclaimed people’s republic of Donetsk, which could serve as a post for further onslaughts in the region.
“In the last week, the number of Ukrainian flags in Donbass [região ao leste] increased. There will be even more within a week,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who also added that the war against Ukraine represents a “historic mistake for Russia”.
“Liman is totally free. Thank you, troops”, completed the president, in a short video.
The setback for Russian troops came after its president, Vladimir Putin, proclaimed the annexation of four Ukrainian regions (Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as areas south of Kherson and Zaporyjia) – an area that included Liman. Lugansk and Donetsk make up Donbass (Russian-speaking East at the center of the conflict).
The incorporation of the territories to Moscow’s domain was formalized by Putin on Friday (30), in a move that generated international reaction and motivated the convening of the Security Council meeting, the most important of the United Nations – Brazil abstained from the vote on a resolution by the body condemning the annexation.
With the capture of Liman, Kiev will be able to establish a bridge for an eventual incursion into Lugansk, an area that is almost entirely occupied by Moscow – key points such as Kreminna, Severodonetsk and Lisitchansk are less than 50 km from Liman.
About 5,000 Russian soldiers were expelled this Saturday (1st) from Liman. “In connection with the risk of a siege, Allied troops were withdrawn to more advantageous lines,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Russian forces captured Liman in May and used the city as a logistical hub for operations in the northern Donetsk region, through which troop transport and material supply lines passed.
Also on Sunday, Pope Francis urged Putin to stop “his spiral of violence and death” in Ukraine, saying the country’s crisis could lead to a risk of nuclear escalation with global consequences.
In a speech to thousands of people in St Peter’s Square in Rome, he also referred to Zelensky, asking him to be open to any “serious proposal for peace”.
“My appeal goes above all to the president of the Russian Federation, imploring him to stop this spiral of violence and death,” the pontiff said. “On the other hand, saddened by the enormous suffering of the Ukrainian population due to the aggression it has suffered, I also address a hopeful appeal to the President of Ukraine to be open to a serious proposal for peace.”