Ukraine reclaims more of the east from Russian troops

STORY: Bodies of soldiers, ruined vehicles and carpets of bullets – all apparent signs on Wednesday of Moscow’s loss of Lyman in eastern Ukraine.

That’s after a Ukrainian counteroffensive reclaimed parts of Donetsk province, that had been overrun by Russian forces earlier this year.

A Ukrainian soldier says this Russian unit was retreating.

"Here nearly 10 people were killed, Russian soldiers. When they were just running from counter-offensive of the armed forces of Ukraine."

Ukrainian forces have recaptured thousands of square miles of territory since the start of September, including dozens of settlements in just the past few days.

In Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s nightly video address, the Ukrainian President said their forces on Wednesday liberated three more settlements in the southern Kherson region.

His comments came after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on the same day to incorporate four partially-occupied Ukrainian regions into Russia, including Kherson.

Kyiv called it an act of a "collective madhouse", coming at a time when Russia's forces were said to be fleeing from the front lines.

The new law would incorporate around 18% of Ukraine's territory into Russia, equivalent to the area of Portugal.

That’s the biggest annexation in Europe since World War Two.

Moscow’s move follows referendums it staged in the four provinces last week, which Kyiv and allies say were illegal and coercive.

Putin says it’s to ensure Russia's security and protect Russian-speakers in Ukraine.

Kyiv says it will never accept the illegal seizure by force of its territory.