Russian forces have captured a key town with major ramifications for their invasion of Ukraine, according to the Russian military and British intelligence.

Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said Russia had total control of the town of Lyman, according to state media.

The UK’s Ministry of Defense said in a memo Saturday that Lyman will prove a critical area to hold due to its railways and key bridges.

“By 27 May, Russian forces had likely captured most of the town of Lyman, in the north of Donetsk Oblast, in what is likely a preliminary operation for the next stage of Russia’s Donbas offensive,” the ministry said. 

“Lyman is strategically important because it is the site of a major railway junction, and also gives access to important rail and road bridges over the Siverskyy Donets River,” the memo continued.

The intelligence report went on to speculate that Russian military forces will likely utilize the position to force a river crossing to their advantage.

“In the coming days, Russian units in the area are likely to prioritise forcing a crossing of the river. For now, Russia’s main effort likely remains 40 km to the east, around the Sieverodonetsk pocket, but a bridgehead near Lyman would give Russia an advantage in the potential next phase of the Donbas offensive, when it will likely seek to advance on key Ukrainian-held cities deeper in Donetsk Oblast, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.”

The British intelligence community has released a series of reports documenting expected developments on the Russian side of the conflict.

Russia has successfully tested a hypersonic Zircon cruise missile, the country’s Ministry of Defense said Saturday. 

The missile has previously been touted as a major breakthrough in weapons development, with the Saturday launch clearing a distance of 625 miles, according to reports.

Video shows the missile fired from the Barents Sea and striking a target in the White Sea with great precision. 

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