President Zelenskiy announces Ukraine’s ‘accelerated’ bid to join NATO.
A day after Russia formally annexed four occupied regions of Ukraine, the Russian military has been forced into a retreat by the advancing Ukrainian counteroffensive. Amid heavy fighting, the Russian forces on Saturday withdrew from the eastern city of Lyman in the Donetsk region, media reports say.
The Russian pullout from the city of Lyman comes after large number of troops were encircled by the Ukrainian advance. “Ukrainian forces on Saturday encircled some 5,000 Russian troops in the eastern town of Lyman, a part of Ukraine illegally annexed by Moscow on Friday,” the German TV channel DW News previously reported.
Explaining the importance of Lyman, DW News added: “The region served as a logistics and transport hub for Russian military operations in the north of the Donetsk region. Should Ukrainian forces gain total control of Lyman, it would allow them to start further advances into the Luhansk region, which Russia has occupied since July and also claimed a part of its territory.”
The Associated Press reported the latest Russian retreat:
After being encircled by Ukrainian forces, Russia pulled troops out Saturday from an eastern Ukrainian city that it had been using as a front-line hub. It was the latest victory for the Ukrainian counteroffensive that has humiliated and angered the Kremlin. (…)
Lyman, a key transport hub, had been an important node in the Russian front line for both ground communications and logistics. Located 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Lyman is in the Donetsk region near the border with Luhansk region, both of which Russia annexed Friday after an “referendum vote” was held at gunpoint.
Lyman is completely encircled. All the Russians who didn't manage to flee are trapped. 🇺🇦
Annexation, they said? Including DPR as one of the subjects of Russian Federation? pic.twitter.com/u0JoLBTpSd
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) October 1, 2022
The Russian troops continue their retreat despite Moscow’s claims they were merely regrouping to halt the Ukrainian advance. Since Ukraine launched the counteroffensive in early September, more than 2,310 sq miles of territory has been liberated from the Russians.
Moscow Holds Annexation Ceremony Amid Military Retreat
The Russian military is beating a retreat in the Donetsk region a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin presided over a Kremlin ceremony announcing the formal annexation of four Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia.
The BBC covered Friday’s public ceremony in Moscow marking the latest round of Russian annexation:
Returning to the concert being held in Moscow’s Red Square – and President Vladimir Putin has made an appearance on stage.
The event is being held to mark Russia’s announcement of the annexation of four Ukrainian territories.
The president was joined by other Russian leaders, and they all sang the national anthem, as crowds could be seen waving flags.
The concert was broadcast live on state TV . “Russia does not only open the door to our brothers and sisters but it also opens its heart to them. Welcome home,” Putin said, using a short speech to echo previous claims made by him to justify the invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine Responds With ‘Accelerated’ Bid to Join NATO
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy responded to the latest Russian move by announcing his country’s bid to join the NATO defense alliance in an ‘accelerated’ manner.
“In a speech filmed outside his presidential office in Kyiv, Zelenskiy said he was taking this ‘decisive step’ in order to protect ‘the entire community’ of Ukrainians. He promised the application would happen in an ‘expedited manner’,” the UK newspaper Guardian noted.
Ukraine has long desired to become a member of the Western defense alliance. In 2019, Ukrainian parliament passed a constitutional amendment asserting the country’s commitment to becoming a member of NATO and the European Union.
Historical moment. Ukraine applied to join NATO in an accelerated manner pic.twitter.com/czSTg69QWl
— Iryna Voichuk🇺🇦 (@irmachep) September 30, 2022
The French TV channel Euro News reported the Kyiv’s bid to join NATO:
Ukraine has submitted an official application to join NATO, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after Moscow annexed four Ukrainian regions earlier on Friday.
“We are de facto allies already,” Zelenskyy said. “De facto, we have already proven compatibility with Alliance standards.”
“Ukraine is applying to confirm it de jure by an expedited procedure,” he stated.
NATO was not immediately able to respond to questions about what Ukraine’s “accelerated” application to join the alliance would mean.
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