A Ukrainian flag in a heavily damaged area a recently liberated town
A Ukrainian flag waves in the village of Dolyna in Donetsk oblast, Ukraine after the withdrawal of Russian troops on September 24, 2022.Metin Aktas/Getty Images
  • Russian forces are losing territory to Putin.

  • The city of Lyman was liberated by the Ukrainians on Saturday.

  • Russia could be on the verge of a major defeat in Kherson, according to a top DoD official.

In the four days since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions, Russian troops have continued to lose ground to the Ukrainian military.

One of the four regions Russia annexed along with Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia was captured by the Ukrainians.

The city was important to the Russians. The US military official said that the liberation ofLyman by the Ukrainians is a significant operational accomplishment.

According to the Pentagon, the southern Kherson region is making significant progress, which Russia hoped to use as a land bridge from the east to Crimea.

Celeste Wallander, assistant defense secretary for international security affairs, said on Monday that the gains in Kherson put them on track for a major defeat of the Russians.

"That would be a major defeat for Russia because it pushes back even more Russia's ambition to take Odessa, which was one of the stated objectives earlier this year," Wallander said.

Wallander said that it gave the Ukrainians a better defensive position to ride out the fighting over the winter.

Ukraine seems to be on track to achieve its goals in Kherson, but will need continued support from the US and the international community to get there, according to Wallander.

According to an assessment from the Institute for the Study of War, Ukrainian forces made significant gains in the Kherson region between Sunday and Monday.

Some of the Russian troops who were in the areas that were captured by the Ukrainians were previously praised as some of Russia's most elite forces, according to an analysis by I SW.

The Russian groupings in northern Kherson Oblast and on the Lyman front were mostly comprised of units that had been regarded as among Russia's premier conventional fighting forces before the war.

Russian officials increased their efforts in Kherson with the help of elements of the once-vaunted airborne force known as the VDV. The heavy losses the 144th suffered during the counter-offensive in Kharkiv raised suspicion that it may be combat-ineffective.

The Russian military has suffered 80,000 casualties in the war. As many as 300,000 people have been called up by Putin in the last few weeks, some of whom say they're not reserves. The military experts said that those being drafted have little to no training and are unlikely to make a difference in the short term.

Problems that have sparked an amount of dissent rare during Putin's rule include ineligible men being called up as thousands have fled Russia to avoid being drafted. Russia is having equipment issues.

According to Ukrainian military intelligence, the Russian government is already failing in its promises to properly equip, which may undermine Putin's efforts to generate the number of troops he needs to continue fighting in Ukraine.

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