• On 1 October 2022 the Russian force in the Donetsk Oblast town of Lyman withdrew in the face of Ukrainian advances. Lyman was likely being defended by undermanned elements of Russia’s Western and Central Military Districts, as well as contingents of voluntarily mobilised reservists. The force probably experienced heavy casualties as it withdrew along the only road out of the town still in Russian hands.
  • Operationally, Lyman is important because it commands a key road crossing over the Siversky Donets River, behind which Russia has been attempting to consolidate its defences. Russia’s withdrawal from Lyman also represents a significant political setback given that it is located within Donetsk Oblast, a region Russia supposedly aimed to ‘liberate’ and has attempted to illegally annex.
  • The withdrawal has led to a further wave of public criticism of Russia’s military leadership by senior officials. Further losses of territory in illegally occupied territories will almost certainly lead to an intensification of this public criticism and increase the pressure on senior commanders.
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