Lyman residents tell CNN the Russians left town in an orderly fashion
The ghostly emptiness of the streets of Lyman, in eastern Ukraine, belies the city’s strategic importance.
No sign of Russian troops at all this Sunday, few Russian tanks damaged, or Russian dead, or Russian prisoners. Members of the Ukrainian National Guard from the Dnipro-1 unit roam some streets in small numbers.
The occasional rattle of gunfire, or the noise of artillery, pierces the silence. Some locals emerge, riding their bikes, looking for food, puzzled by what is happening.
“One day I wear a cap, another day a different cap,” says a woman through tears, pretending to remove a hat.
“How can we live like this?” he said, referring to the changing control of the city.
CNN was one of the first media outlets to reach the newly liberated city, 30 minutes after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that Lyman was completely clear of Russian troops.
Ukrainian officials and troops had repeatedly spoken of a large number of Moscow’s best units being trapped there. However, this Sunday there were few signs of encirclement.
Some officials said the Russian bodies had already been removed and the prisoners disposed of. But locals offered another explanation: that Russian forces had left the city in an orderly manner on Friday.
“They got in their tanks and left,” Tanya said, riding her bike back to the bomb shelter, where she still spends the nights with 15 other people.