Russia's Defence Ministry on Wednesday said that a Ukrainian offensive on the Russian-held town of Lyman in Donetsk region had failed, with 70 Ukrainian soldiers killed.

Reuters could not verify the battlefield report.

Lyman, which had a population of around 20,000 before Russia ordered troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, has been at the centre of fighting since Ukraine's lightning counteroffensive earlier this month. In recent days, both Ukrainian and Russian analysts have suggested that Kyiv's forces are close to encircling the town. (Reporting by Reuters)