NewsRussia abandons Lyman stronghold; Putin ally calls for nuclear...

Russia abandons Lyman stronghold; Putin ally calls for nuclear response

Russia said its troops had abandoned a key stronghold in occupied eastern Ukraine, a searing defeat that prompted one of President Vladimir Putin’s most belligerent allies to call for Russia to consider resorting to low-grade nuclear weapons.

Lyman’s downfall came just a day after Putin proclaimed the annexation of four Ukrainian regions – including Donetsk, where Lyman is located – and placed them under Russia’s nuclear umbrella, in a ceremony that was condemned by kyiv and the West. as an illegitimate farce.

“In connection with creating an encirclement threat, Allied troops were withdrawn from the Krasny Liman settlement to more advantageous lines,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, using the city’s Russian name.

The statement ended hours of official silence from Moscow after Ukraine said first that it had surrounded thousands of Russian troops in the area and then that its forces were inside the town of Lyman.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the southern region of Chechnya who describes himself as Putin’s foot soldier, said he felt he had to speak out after losing the territory.

“In my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons,” Kadyrov wrote on Telegram.

Other top Putin allies, including former President Dmitry Medvedev, have suggested Russia may have to resort to nuclear weapons, but Kadyrov’s call was the most urgent and explicit.

Putin said last week that he was not faking when he said he was prepared to defend Russia’s “territorial integrity” with all available means, and on Friday he made it clear that this extended to the new regions that Moscow has claimed.

Washington says it would respond decisively to any use of nuclear weapons and has explained to Moscow the “catastrophic consequences” it would face.

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