The next major defeat of the Russian army in Ukraine is apparently imminent. The city of Lyman in the Donetsk region is considered a strategically important place. Putin’s troops occupy the city. But they are trapped. Thousands could die.

The Ukrainian army currently has one target in the Donetsk region: Lyman. The city of 20,000 is an important hub. Because from here a road goes east to Swatowe. And another road leads to Sieverodonetsk and Lysychansk.

Lyman is also an important logistical rail hub. If you want to transport supplies, you can use control of Lyman.

Now the Ukrainian army is advancing. Denis Puschilin, administrator of the Donetsk region enthroned by Putin, says: “We are half surrounded. This is very bad news.” A Russian military blogger writes: “The road between Lyman and Torske is under constant enemy fire.”

It is said that the road to Swatowe is still free for the Russian fighters. But Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, already wrote on Telegram: “The Russian army will have to ask for an escape route.”

Ukrainian war reporter Illia Ponomarenko wrote on Twitter: “Ukrainian troops have almost completed the encirclement. And they have cut off the Russians from important communication lines.” And even a Russian military blogger is of the opinion: “The Ukrainian troops have managed to effectively encircle Lyman.” Important towns around Lyman are already in Ukrainian hands or are about to be.

Russia still holds a large part of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. But Lyman is also seen as a test of whether Ukraine is strong enough to continue building on the recaptures in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions.

Lyman has been in Russian hands since May. Then there was bitter fighting for Sievjerodonetsk and Lysychansk. The Ukrainians had to withdraw from these before their units were completely destroyed.

Thousands of Russian soldiers in the Lyman Pocket are now apparently facing the same fate. But the decision here could be that the city must be held at all costs. If only to stop the Ukrainians and strengthen the line of defense around Svatowe. If Putin’s troops don’t flee, as they did in the Kharkiv region a few weeks ago, there could be many deaths.

“We have to look at the situation soberly and draw our conclusions from our mistakes,” says Russia’s appointed governor Pushilin. Maybe it’s already too late for that. Military analyst Michael Kofman writes: “Russian troops face encirclement. There is a good chance that there will be a Russian defeat.”