So, it happened just as I dreaded. On the Liman front (Krasny Liman, Red Liman), yesterday (October 1), just one day after becoming territory of the Russian Federation, the city of Liman fell to Ukrainian/NATO troops. I have this piece by reporter Vera Basilaya, in which Russian Minister of Defense spokesperson Igor Konashenkov explains what happened:
Russian/Allied troops were fighting hard against the 66th and 93rd Mechanized Brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF), on the Liman front. Nothwithstanding the huge losses they endured, the Ukrainian side (fortified with NATO mercenaries) fought on, enjoying significant superiority in manpower and equipment. The enemy also brought in reinforcements and reserves from other fronts (mainly from Seversk), concentrating everything it had on this one fist. By September 29-30 the Ukrainians had succeeded in surrounding Russian troops in a semi-circular cauldron, with only one road out.
Russian infantry fought like demons to keep that one supply road open; they were successful in dong this, to the extent they could eventually use this road to withdraw backwards to a more defensible line. On the map I show where Ukrainian reinforcements moved Northwest from Seversk to Liman; and the purple arrow shows where Russian troops pulled out in the Torsk direction, which is their secondary line of defense.
Who Is To Blame?
Ramzan Kadyrov is furious about the situation, and does not curb his sharp tongue. He blames a specific person for this setback: Colonel-General Alexander Lapin, who heads Army Group Center in the Ukraine operation.
Kadyrov: “Colonel-General Lapin placed mobilized LPR units, and other units as well, on all edges of the Liman direction; but he did not provide them with communications or supplies.”
Kadyrov says that he tried to warn Valery Gerasimov (of the Russian General Staff) about the danger in which these Russian troops found themselves, and the risk they faced; but the latter assured Kadyrov that “he has confidence in the regimental talent of Lapin, and it is his judgement that retreat from Liman and the surrounding area, is not even an option.”
Kadyrov goes on to say that, a week after this conversation, Lapin moved his own command HQ to Starobelsk, which is at a hundred kilometer distance from his subordinates, and then himself just settled into a safe spot in Luhansk. Kadyrov believes that Lapin’s negligence and the absence of an “elementary military logistics” is the cause of the failure, and the reason why Russian troops had to give up so much territory once again:
Kadyrov: “What bugs me the most is not just that Lapin is a no-talent nonentity. But the fact that he is covered by the higher-ups in the General Staff. I myself [if I were in charge], I would demote Lapin to an ordinary private, tear off all his medals, put an automatic rifle in his hands, and send him off to the front line to redeem himself and wash away his shame with his own blood.”
[yalensis: I have no place taking sides here in this Kadyrov/Lapin feud. Because I have no idea who is right or wrong here. Kadyrov intimates that there is some nepotism going on in the Russian High Command, but I don’t know about that either, all I know — and anybody can see — is that some changes are needed. I mean, it’s obvious, from a macro point of view, that Russia is destined to win the war regardless, but does it have to be so much like pulling teeth?]
Root Cause Analysis
On the Weeb Union youtube channel, I saw this comment by an anonymous poster called “D PA”, and I found myself nodding in agreement, I think this reflects my instinctual opinion as well, as to what has been going on here
Commenter D PA:
My own guess is that Putin was trying to fight on a budget way longer than he should have. The troops occupying the territories were enough for defense, but only allied forces like LPR, DPR and Wagner etc were actually conducting offensive attacks, supported by federal artillery and air power. He was convinced he could do the bare minimum, like in Syria etc, but he didn’t realize how wrong that was until the recent offensives. The russians were never going to give up Crimea without fighting tooth and nail for it, which is why the UKR have been stalled outside Kherson for a month now. Fortifying that area took priority, which meant sapping the defenses up north until there were just a couple battalions of paramilitaries guarding the edge of the oblast with orders to withdraw to Oskil river if they came under fire. It’s also possible that the Stavka weighed their options and went ok, well, Kharkiv is right next to Belgorod, so there aren’t long supply lines to worry about. You just have 120k troops drive south and you take Kharkiv back. This should have been the sign that more troops were needed, but Putin’s stubborn and doesn’t want to because mobilization presents a lot of political and logistic problems. So he waited too long. Now Lisichansk has to wonder if the SBU is going to pogrom every russian-speaker they find in Lyman while they wait for those 300K troops to trickle in week by week. Well, that’s my hypothesis anyways, won’t know til after the war how much of that was true, if any.
Update From Kots
Today (October 2) we have this update from war correspondent Alexander Kots. Kots spoke with soldiers from LPR, who assured him they had no intention of retreating from Liman: “Were it necessary, we would have remained there and fought to the death.”
However, their commanders were wiser than these hot-heads; knowing that men are more valuable than territory, they gave the necessary order to withdraw. Around midnight they snuck out of the cauldron and and headed off to Torskoe.
Unfortunately, once they got to Torskoe they found Ukrainians there as well, so they had to fight a big gun battle, before moving on “at great speed”.
The enemy’s plan is clear: After achieving such success on the Kharkov front, the NATO forces kept feeling out various other fronts, before finding the weak spot. The place where they outnumbered the Russians 3 or 4 times to 1, and then just went for it. NATO fights in a different way than Russia does. Russia spends a lot of time softening up the enemy defenses with long-range artillery. NATO apparently doesn’t bother with that, just charges headlong into the fray, using infantry and light vehicles to overwhelm the opponent. This strategy worked just as well in Liman, as it had previously in Izyum/Kupiansk. And now the NATO forces have clearly set their sights on Lisichansk, with the goal of winning back all the Luhansk territory that they lost, earlier in the war.
What Is To Be Done?
Well, the answer is obvious, even to an ignorant layperson like myself. You can’t fight WWIII against NATO on a shoestring. In this regard, as Brian Berletic admitted in his last podcast, such analysts as Scott Ritter and Mark Sleboda proved to be better prophets than those who kept claiming that everything was going just fine, just as it was.