A liberated town in Ukraine demonstrates the human cost of Russia’s loss.

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By Creative Media News

It is true within the eastern Ukrainian city of Lyman, which was recaptured by the Russians over the weekend. The abandoned, debris-strewn streets are bordered by boarded-up or destroyed structures. The wind buffets metal shingles that are dangling from shattered roofs. Few civilians travel outside. We counted nearly as many dogs as humans, but the population before the war was approximately 20,000.

The few villagers we encountered appeared shell-shocked from months of shelling and uncertain that their nightmare had ended.

The only sign of life was a column of Ukrainian soldiers riding on top of armored personnel carriers, waving and cheering as they left the city along a pine-lined road.

A liberated town in ukraine demonstrates the human cost of russia's loss.
A liberated town in ukraine demonstrates the human cost of russia's loss.

They sped past the human cost of Russia’s defeat.

The corpses of five Russian troops lay next to one another, bloated and deformed by death, yet once the husband or son of someone.

They were dressed in full uniform, with their boots still on, as though they may return to the battle. They were killed simultaneously as they attempted to leave.

We observed a pile of abandoned Russian uniforms, sleeping bags, and ration packs close by. A name was inscribed on a backpack belonging to the military. We do not know what happened to the owner.

Two young volunteers from a Ukrainian humanitarian organization were carefully and silently counting the bodies and searching for identification information.

They were squatting within centimeters from mines strewn down the roadway, their dark green color masked by grass and leaves. They are a lingering threat posed by an opponent that has retreated, or, as the Russian defense ministry described it, “retreated to more favorable positions.” This argument has a familiar ring to it after the domino effect of Russian defeats in the northeastern region of Kharkiv last month.

Liberated town
A liberated town in ukraine demonstrates the human cost of russia's loss.

Later, the volunteers placed the remains in black body bags and removed them off the battlefield, removing some of the fallen Russian soldiers.

A new Ukrainian flag was flying atop a seized Russian T72 tank that was parked on the side of the road. The happy young Ukrainian soldier clambering around the gun turret proclaimed, “We are going to win.” “I feel fantastic, absolutely great.”

This is more than just a defeat for President Vladimir Putin. It is a horrible disgrace. On Friday of last week, he informed the world that he had annexed four Ukrainian areas, including Donetsk, where Lyman is located. He stated that they would be “forever Russian.”

The following day, Ukrainian forces invaded Lyman, and Lyman’s troops fled for their lives.

Before Lyman fell, Ukraine claims as many as 5,000 Russian troops were trapped there. We do not know the number of those slain or captured. The defense ministry in Kiev tweeted that nearly all of the Russian forces assigned to Lyman had been “redeployed either in body bags or as prisoners.”

The key town serves as a gateway to the neighboring area of Luhansk, which is largely under Russian control. Ukraine hopes to develop further by utilizing this triumph as a stepping stone.

Lena and her son Radion, age 10, hope for peace and running water. We encountered the mother and son on their way to a well to refill a 5-liter container.

“Lena, who was wearing a dark cap and several layers of woolen sweaters, stated, “I believe it will be peaceful. Everyone has endured enough pain. The most difficult aspect was surviving the shelling. As we stayed in the cellar, we prayed. The situation is still stressful, but I am content in general.”

Radion has learned the lessons of combat while deprived of an education. Under his dark blue helmet, his countenance is gloomy. “It was quite frightening in Lyman, he tells us because there was so much bombing. War is a terrible thing because people die. My heart is more serene now.

Others, like the 66-year-old Nadia, still appear to be lost in their trauma. She was going slowly through the streets alone as if she did not recognize her surroundings.

“I pray for the best and that they [the Russians] will not return,” she remarked. It was terrible. Each side was firing. We had no comprehension of anything. When it was peaceful, we cooked outside. Then it began again. We have all become insane.”

She posed a query to us.

Why am I being inundated? She pleaded with us. “I didn’t do anything bad. I didn’t kill. I didn’t steal. I do not comprehend why. Perhaps you can inform me. We lived comfortably, everything was well, and we worked. And in an instant, it was turned on its head.”

In the city’s surrounding streets, pro-Russian slogans have been spray-painted on walls, kiosks, and bus stops. A locked storefront bears the Cyrillic initials for USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: “CCCP.”

The ruins of Lyman attest to President Putin’s failure to revive the Soviet Union of his youth, despite his desire to do so.

Ukraine now has momentum and is aware that it must move quickly if it can obtain weapons from the West. When frosty weather arrives, battle lines will stiffen. In a few weeks, the window for regaining further territory this winter may close.

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