Ukrainian soldiers liberated areas from Russian troops and hoisted flags in regions Russia claimed it had annexed.
RELATED: Russian troops forced out of Lyman, Ukraine reclaims control
Ukrainian counteroffensive efforts picked up steam over the weekend, forcing a Russian retreat from the city of Lyman, which Russia had used as a strategic transport and logistics hub. The gains in the northeast and the south have eroded Russian control and countered Russian President Vladimir Putin's illegal annexation of four eastern territories.
According to the UK's Ministry of Defense, the recapture of Lyman is crucial, as it has a key road crossing over the Siversky Donets River, behind which Russia has been attempting to consolidate its defenses. The city, which Ukraine took by encircling Russian troops, is in the Donetsk region, near the border with Luhansk.
The Ukrainian counteroffensive operations in the south have Russian forces in a "defensive crouch," said a senior military official during a background briefing at the Pentagon. Russian lines are collapsing as Ukrainian troops continue to make significant gains, pushing south along the Dnipro River toward Kherson city, according to the Institute for the Study of War.
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