Russia has withdrawn its troops from the strategic Ukrainian town of Lyman, in a move seen as a significant setback for its campaign in the east.
The retreat came amid fears thousands of soldiers would be encircled in the town, Russia’s defence ministry said.
Recapturing Lyman is of strategic significance for Ukraine.
The town had been used as a logistics hub by Russia, and could give Ukrainian troops access to more territory in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Video footage shared online showed Ukrainian soldiers waving their national flag on the outskirts of the town.
Although the blue and yellow colours were flying in Lyman again, fighting was “still going on” there, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening video address.
However, he gave no further details.
The battlefield setback prompted the Chechen leader and hardline Moscow ally, Ramzan Kadyrov, to comment that Russia should consider using low-yield nuclear weapons in the face of such defeats.
Lyman is in Donetsk – one of four partially-occupied Ukrainian regions which Russia declared it was annexing on Friday.
Ukraine and its Western allies have dismissed the move as an illegal land-grab.