A Failed Breakout
On the night hours of Friday and the morning hours of Saturday, the Russian forces trapped inside the pocket in Lyman attempted a breakout to reach friendly lines.
However, that was never going to work as the Ukrainian forces had moved some of their M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), M-777 155mm Howitzers, and other artillery systems around the cauldron. So, when the Russian forces attempted a breakout, they simply walked into a pre-marked artillery range, thus suffering horrific casualties. Th exact amount of Russian casualties is yet to be determined, and we won’t have any clear figures for at least some days as the Ukrainian forces consolidate their positions in the area.
As far as why the Russian forces didn’t evacuate Lyman when they had the chance, it seems that the order from Moscow was to stand and fight to the last man.
It seems that the Kremlin has stiffened its attitude toward the war and has issued an order that prevents retreat or surrender, eerie similar to the infamous Order No. 227 that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin issued in the summer of 1942 to stem what it seemed the uncontrolled Soviet retreat.
The Russians Are Running out of Morale
The Russian military has suffered another humiliating defeat in Ukraine, and the amount of men and weapon systems it can afford to lose draw smaller.
However, in the psychological realm, the Russian military is facing an equal danger as the successive humiliating losses in Ukraine are threatening to break the Russian forces in Ukraine apart.
The 300,000 mobilized reservists—a number that is likely to be much higher as Putin and his Kremlin advisers have been conducting a covert mobilization effort alongside the official recall of the reservists—isn’t going to be as consequential as Moscow hopes. An army with no morale and—most importantly—with no boost in its morale on the horizon isn’t much of a fighting machine. The mobilized reservists will join units with abhorrent leadership. These units are literally used as cannon fodder without any regard for the survival chances of their troops. In that, the modern Russian military resembles its Soviet World War Two predecessor.
Lyman is the latest town to be liberated by the Ukrainian military. But the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensives make it all but certain that it won’t be the last.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy and Cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.