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Russia-Ukraine updates: US cheers Ukraine's success at Lyman

October 2, 2022

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hailed Ukraine's capture of the Lyman as encouraging. Meanwhile, UK Defense Intelligence called it a major political setback for Russia. Follow DW for the latest.

An Ukrainian T-72 tank runs on a road near Lyman
A Ukrainian T-72 tank drives on a road near Lyman, a strategically important city in Donetsk region recaptured by Ukrainian troopsImage: Yashuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday cheered Ukraine's capture of the key bastion of Lyman from Russia in eastern Ukraine, saying it was an encouraging battlefield success that would create new dilemmas for Russia's military.

"Absolutely, it's significant. We're very encouraged by what we're seeing right now," Austin told reporters at a news conference in Hawaii.

Austin noted that Lyman was positioned across supply lines Russia has used to push its troops and materiel down to the south and to the west as the Kremlin presses its more than seven-month-long invasion of Ukraine.

"Without those routes, it will be more difficult," Austin added. "It presents a sort of a dilemma for the Russians going forward."

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, and "reiterated President Biden's message that the United States will always honor Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders."

"We will continue to support Ukraine’s efforts to regain control of its territory by strengthening its hand militarily and diplomatically," Blinken said.

Ukraine is able to push back Russian forces — Stoltenberg

Ukraine's seizure of territory that Russian President Vladimir Putin declared as annexed shows the Ukrainians' ability to push back Russian forces, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

"We have seen that they have been able to take a new town, Lyman, and that demonstrates that the Ukrainians are making progress, are able to push back the Russian forces because of the courage, because of their bravery, their skills, but of course also because of the advanced weapons that the United States and other allies are providing," Stoltenberg said.

Therefore, the best way to counter Russia's proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine is to continue supporting the government in Kyiv, Stoltenberg said.

Asked about Ukraine's application for accelerated membership in the Western defense alliance, Stoltenberg said "any decision on membership has to be taken by consensus all 30 allies have to agree to make such a decision."

The capture of Lyman came just a day after Putin proclaimed the annexation of four Ukrainian regions — including Donetsk, where the city is located. The proclamation of Russian rule over 15% of Ukraine was roundly rejected by Ukraine and Western countries as illegal.

Russian military confirms pull-out of Lyman

Here is more news from or concerning the war in Ukraine on Sunday, October 2:

Germany and other EU countries summon Russian ambassadors

Germany's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that the Russian ambassador to Germany, Sergey Nechaev, was "promptly" summoned.

The ministry was reacting to Russia declaring the annexation of four Ukrainian regions on Friday and the further escalation of the Russian war in Ukraine.

It is expected that the Russian ambassadors will also be summoned in other EU countries. In Italy, the local Russian ambassador was summoned for Monday, Russia's Belgian ambassador was already summoned on Friday.

Ukraine to get 16 howitzers from Slovakia — Lambrecht

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has announced that 16 Slovak-made wheeled howitzers Zuzana-2 will be delivered to Ukraine next year.

The Zuzana-type systems will be produced in Slovakia and financed jointly by Denmark, Norway and Germany, the minister said.

"This shows how important it is to always explore such possibilities with your partners, but then to implement them," Lambrecht added.

The German ministry put the total value of the procurement at €92 million ($90 million), with the three countries financing it equally.

Zuzana howitzers are among the Slovak defense industry's most sophisticated products.

Russian official says it's possible to repair Nord Stream pipelines

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said it was technically possible to restore the ruptured offshore infrastructure of Nord Streams pipelines.

"There have never been such incidents. Of course, there are technical possibilities to restore the infrastructure, it takes time and appropriate funds. I am sure that appropriate possibilities will be found," he said.

Meanwhile, authorities in Denmark said that the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipelines have also stopped leaking, a day after officials said that the ruptured Nord Stream 2 pipelines also appeared to stop leaking.

A total of four leaks were discovered on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea near Denmark and Sweden last week.

While neither pipeline was in use at the time of the suspected blasts, they were filled with gas that has been spewing out and bubbling to the surface of the Baltic Sea since Monday.

Pope appeals to Putin to end 'spiral of violence' in Ukraine

Pope Francis implored Russian President Vladimir Putin to "stop this spiral of violence and death" in Ukraine.

The pope also spoke out against Moscow's illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory and denounced what he called the "absurd" risk of nuclear war.

Francis made his strongest appeal yet on the seven-month-long war as he addressed the public in St. Peter's Square.

The pontiff also called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to "be open" to serious peace proposals. He also exhorted the international community to "use all diplomatic instruments" to end this "huge tragedy" and "horror" of war.

Nine NATO countries call for increased military aid to Ukraine

The presidents of the nine NATO member states from Central and Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia) released a joint statement condemning Russia's annexation of Ukrainian territories and calling on NATO to significantly increase military aid to Ukraine.

"We reiterate our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We do not recognize and will never recognize Russian attempts to annex any Ukrainian territory," the statement said.

The presidents also expressed their firm support for the decision of the 2008 Bucharest NATO summit regarding Ukraine's future membership in the Western military alliance.

"We support Ukraine in its defense against Russia's invasion, demand Russia to immediately withdraw from all the occupied territories and encourage all allies to substantially increase their military aid to Ukraine," the statement said.

On Friday, Ukraine decided to apply for NATO membership. On the same day, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said "NATO's door remains open" and that any European country has the right to apply to join the alliance — following the line previously indicated by NATO leaders. 

Losing Lyman a significant political setback for Russia: UK Ministry of Defence

Russia's withdrawal from Lyman represents a major political setback considering it's located in Donetsk Oblast, a region that Russia reportedly wanted to "liberate" and tried to illegally annex, the British Ministry of Defence has said in a daily intelligence update.

"The withdrawal has led to a further wave of public criticism of Russia's military leadership by senior officials," the update said.

According to the British ministry, further losses of territory in illegally occupied territories will almost certainly lead to an intensification of this public criticism in Russia and increase the pressure on senior commanders.

More DW content on the war in Ukraine

Russia has annexed large swathes of southern and eastern Ukraine, changing the lives of millions of people overnight. Will they accept the status quo, or resist? 

When the war began, Ukrainian authorities stopped extending Russian citizens' residency permits. Since then, their status has become unclear and many face deportation.

dh/sms (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)