Russia’s forces in Ukraine are now suffering a “moral collapse” as the Ukrainian army continues to advance into occupied territories during its counter-offensives, a former White House national security adviser has said.
Retired Lt. Gen. HR McMaster, who served as a national security adviser under the Trump administration, made the remarks after Ukraine’s successful liberation of the Donetsk region town of Lyman on Sunday. The city served as a major logistics hub for Russia’s operations in eastern Ukraine and as a natural division between the Moscow and Kyiv front lines.
“I think we may be on the precipice of the collapse of the Russian army in Ukraine – a collapse in morale. I think they really must be on the verge of collapse given the number of casualties and the huge territory they’re trying to defend,” McMaster said during an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation.
McMaster’s comments come after the well-known Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that the country’s troops in Lyman were plagued by desertion, poor planning and late arrival of reserves before withdrawing from the city, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
Before Lyman was liberated, Serhiy Cherevatyi, the spokesman for the Eastern Division of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said they also recaptured several other towns, including Yampil, Novoselivka, Shandryholove, Drobyshevo and Stavky in Donetsk Oblast.
“The Russian group in the Lyman area is surrounded. The settlements of Yampil, Novoselivka, Shandryholove, Drobysheve and Stavky are liberated. Stabilization measures are ongoing there,” Cherevatyi said in a televised news conference on Saturday morning, as quoted by CNN.
Cherevatyi added that many Russian soldiers were killed and wounded in the operations, but gave no further details. According to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, Russia has lost 60,110 soldiers since the war began in February.
Lyman’s liberation came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions. The four regions annexed included the pro-Russian “republics” of Luhansk and Donetsk, and Kherson and Zaporizhia to the south.