The retreating Russians leave behind the bodies of their comrades
Responding to the move, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky formally ruled out talks with Russia, saying negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin were impossible after his decision to take control of the regions.
The Kremlin responded by saying it will wait for Ukraine to agree to sit down for talks, noting that may not happen until a new Ukrainian president takes office.
“We will wait for the outgoing president to change his position or wait for a future Ukrainian president who would revise his position in the interests of the Ukrainian people,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Despite the Kremlin’s apparent political bravado, the picture on the ground underscored the disarray Putin faces amid Ukrainian advances and attempts to establish new Russian borders.
Over the weekend, Russian troops withdrew from Lyman, a strategic eastern town that the Russians had used as a logistics and transportation hub, to avoid being surrounded by Ukrainian forces. The liberation of the city gave Ukraine an important vantage point to push its offensive deeper into Russian-held territories.
Two days later, an Associated Press team reporting from Lyman saw at least 18 bodies of Russian soldiers still on the ground. The Ukrainian military seemed to have recovered the bodies of their comrades after fierce battles for control of the city, but they did not immediately remove those of the Russians.
“We are fighting for our land, for our children, for our people to live better, but all of this comes at a very high price,” said a Ukrainian soldier who goes by the name Rud.
Speaking late Tuesday in his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said dozens of settlements had been taken over “from the Russian pseudo-referendum this week alone” in the four annexed regions. In the Kherson region, he listed eight villages that Ukrainian forces took over, “and this is far from a complete list. Our soldiers do not stop.
The deputy head of the Russian-backed regional administration in Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, told Russian television that Ukrainian troops had made “some advances” from the north and were also attacking the region from other sides. He said they were stopped by Russian forces and suffered heavy casualties.
As Kyiv continued its counteroffensives, Russian forces launched more missile strikes on Ukrainian cities.
Several missiles hit Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, damaging infrastructure and causing power outages. Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov said one person had been killed. To the south, Russian missiles hit the town of Nikopol.
After regaining control of Lyman in the Donetsk region, Ukrainian forces pushed further east and may have gone as far as the border of neighboring Luhansk region as they advanced towards Kreminna, said the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War in its latest analysis. .
On Monday, Ukrainian forces also made significant gains in the south, raising flags over the villages of Arkhanhelske, Myroliubivka, Khreshchenivka, Mykhalivka and Novovorontsovka.
In Washington, the US government announced on Tuesday that it would give Ukraine an additional $625 million in military aid, including more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, which are credited with having aided Kyiv’s recent military surge. The package also includes artillery systems, ammunition and armored vehicles.
Ahead of the announcement, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Perebyinis told a conference in the Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday that Ukraine needed more weapons since Russia began a war last month. partial mobilization of men of conscription age. He said additional weapons would help end the war sooner, not make it worse.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the army had recruited more than 200,000 reservists as part of the partial mobilization launched two weeks ago. He said recruits undergo training at 80 firing ranges before being deployed to front lines in Ukraine.
Putin’s mobilization order called for up to 300,000 reservists to be called up, but it opened the door to even greater activation. The order sparked protests across Russia and caused tens of thousands of men to flee the country.
Russia’s effort to incorporate the four beleaguered regions to the east and south of Ukraine was made so hastily that even the exact boundaries of the absorbed territories were unclear.
Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, voted to ratify treaties to make the eastern part of Donetsk and Lugansk and the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia part of Russia. The lower house did so on Monday.
Putin is expected to quickly approve the annexation treaties.
In other developments, the head of the company operating Europe’s largest nuclear power plant said Ukraine was considering restarting the Russian-occupied facility to ensure its safety as winter approaches.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Energoatom Chairman Petro Kotin said the company could restart two of the reactors at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant within days.
“If you have a low temperature, you will freeze everything inside. Safety equipment will be damaged,” he said.
Fears that the war in Ukraine could cause a radioactive leak at the Zaporizhzhia plant had shut down its remaining reactors. The factory was damaged by shelling, which sparked international alarm about the possibility of a disaster.
Adam Schreck reported from Kyiv.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine