He wanted to materialize the winning of a battle that resonated around the world.
Ukraine announced on Sunday that it had taken over the town of Lyman, in the Donetsk region annexed by Russia, when the Russian Constitutional Court ruled legal the treaties of annexation of Ukrainian territories signed by Vladimir Putin.
The announcement fell in the middle of the day: “As of 12:30 local time (09:30 GMT), Lyman is completely rid (of the Russian army).
Thank you to our military,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video posted on social media.
“I am optimistic and very motivated.
I see the activity on the front line and the territories that are being taken back,” said a 33-year-old Ukrainian soldier stationed near Lyman, in eastern Ukraine, who calls himself by his nom de guerre "Smoke".
On Saturday, Ukrainian soldiers entered this strategic city in the Donetsk region, whose annexation by Moscow on Friday was strongly condemned by kyiv and the West.
The Russian Defense Ministry said it had withdrawn Russian troops from Lyman "due to the threat of encirclement".
"Allied troops have been withdrawn from Lyman to better positions," the Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged, as quoted by Russian state news agencies.
Zelensky expects new territories reclaimed
Anticipating this important tactical victory, because Lyman is a crucial railway junction, Volodymyr Zelensky had assured Saturday evening that next week, "new Ukrainian flags will fly over the Donbass", where the Donetsk region is located.
War in Ukraine: the battle of Lyman, the Russian army, "encircled" according to kyiv
Then he said, addressing Russian soldiers and officials and referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin: "Until all of you solve the problem of who started it all, who started this senseless war against Ukraine, you will be killed one by one”.
The loss of Lyman, in the annexed region of Donetsk, is a major setback for the Russian army, unable at this stage to control all of the territories it occupies in Ukraine.
This town had been taken by Russian forces at the end of May.
It had since been used for troop deployments and ammunition supply.