Russian troops forced to retreat from city in newly annexed region as Ukraine pushes forward: Updates

Russia said Saturday that it has withdrawn its troops from the eastern city of Lyman, where Ukrainian forces made a bold battlefield challenge to Russia's annexation plan.

Ukrainian troops had encircled and trapped Russian forces in the city, a key transportation hub located in one of four areas incorporated by Russia a day earlier.

Russia’s Tass and RIA news agencies, citing the Russian defense ministry, said the country's troops were moving back from Lyman, 100 miles southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to keep fighting to liberate the annexed territory and other Russian-occupied areas.

Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said about 5,000 Russian forces had been cut off there. All routes to resupply Russian forces in Lyman were blocked, Haidai said.

The Russian announcement came as the office of the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff posted photos of a Ukrainian flag being raised outside Lyman.

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Other developments:

Four people were killed by Russian shelling Friday in the Donetsk region, governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said. The Russian army struck the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv twice overnight, once with drones and the second time with missiles, according to the regional governor.

Ukrainian officials accused Russian forces of attacking a civilian convoy. The governor of the Kharkiv region, Oleh Syniehubov, said 24 civilians were killed in the attack earlier this week as people fled the Kupiansk district, calling it “cruelty that can’t be justified.” He said 13 children and a pregnant woman were among the dead.

►The U.S. proposed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Russia's annexation vote, and Ukraine called for tougher sanctions against Russia while vowing to reclaim the provinces. EU officials said they're looking into imposing "biting sanctions.''

►The U.S. and its allies hit back at Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions, placing sanctions Friday on more than 1,000 people and companies including arms supply networks. President Joe Biden warned President Vladimir Putin he can’t “get away with” seizing Ukrainian land.

Russia accused of detaining Ukraine power plant chief

Russian troops detained the head of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which has been in the crossfire of the war in recent months, Ukrainian power officials said Saturday.

The incident on Friday apparently took place shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday annexed Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, including the area around the nuclear plant, which is Europe's largest. The detention could have been an attempt to secure Russia's hold on the annexed regions, officials said.

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Ihor Murashov was held around 4 p.m. Friday, the Ukrainian state nuclear company Energoatom said. Energoatom said Russian troops stopped Murashov’s car, blindfolded him and then took him to an undisclosed location.

“His detention by (Russia) jeopardizes the safety of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant,” said Energoatom President Petro Kotin, demanding the director’s immediate release.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Russia claimed “the director-general of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was temporarily detained to answer questions.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ukraine updates: Russia withdraws troops from Lyman in annexed region