A day after Moscow was compelled to surrender its most significant stronghold in northeastern Ukraine, Russian nationalists demanded fiercely on Sunday that President Vladimir Putin make adjustments right now to guarantee the eventual triumph in the Ukraine war.
Russia suffered its worst military setback since its troops were ejected from Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, in March with the quick fall of Izium in Kharkiv province.
On Saturday, as Russian troops withdrew from town after town, Putin opened the most enormous Ferris wheel in Europe in a Moscow park, and fireworks lit up the night sky over Red Square to commemorate the city’s establishment in 1147.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a Putin ally whose soldiers have been leading the war in Ukraine, downplayed the loss of Izium, a crucial supply center, in an 11-minute audio message sent to the Telegram messaging service.
But he confessed the campaign was not according to plan.
If the special military operation is not changed today or tomorrow, Kadyrov said, “I will be compelled to go to the country’s leadership to convey to them the situation on the ground.”
Some pro-war bloggers and Russian nationalists expressed enormous rage on social media in response to Moscow’s nearly complete silence on the setback or any explanation for what had happened in northeastern Ukraine.
Russian nationalists and pro-war commenters expressed enormous ire on social media at Moscow’s nearly complete silence on the setback or any explanation for what had happened in northeastern Ukraine.
The Russian defense ministry posted video footage of what it claimed to be troops heading to the Kharkiv region on Friday as the defeats developed.
The defense ministry reported on Sunday that airborne soldiers, missiles, and artillery from Russian forces had attacked Ukrainian positions in the area.
As of Sunday noon, neither Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu nor President Vladimir Putin, the supreme commander-in-chief of Russia’s armed forces, had made any public remarks on the setback.
“We are proud of Moscow and like this city’s magnificent history and contemporary, fast-paced way of life, the charm of its cozy parks, lanes and streets and abundance of business and cultural events,” Putin told Muscovites, according to a Kremlin transcript of his congratulatory message.
Putin, who has previously spoken of his horror at learning that “Moscow was silent” when the Berlin Wall fell while he was a KGB spy in East Germany, said that those who perished in operation in Ukraine had sacrificed their lives for Russia.
In response to a request for comment, the defense ministry remained silent.
“They’re taking the piss,” remarked one renowned, pro-war military blogger on Telegram, who blogs under Rybar.
“Silence and inaction at this point will significantly harm the cause,” the speaker said.
The ministry announced on Saturday a “regrouping” that would shift troops from Kharkiv to concentrate on the Donetsk region further east. This announcement infuriated many Russian military bloggers.
Some pro-Kremlin combat reporters, past and present service members, and others with sizable Telegram followers said that the ministry downplayed the setback.
Igor Girkin, a nationalist and former FSB officer who assisted in starting a 2014 conflict in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, compared the disintegration of one of the conflict’s main front lines to the 1905 Battle of Mukden, a disastrous defeat in the Russo-Japanese war that led to Russia’s 1905 Revolution.
Ukraine has praised its quick progress as a turning point in the six-month conflict that saw thousands of Russian forces evacuate, leaving behind munitions caches and equipment.
Girkin, who has been blunt in his criticism of the government’s leadership, has stated time and time again that if Russia doesn’t proclaim a countrywide mobilization, it will lose the war in Ukraine. He once called Defense Minister Shoigu “the cardboard marshal.”
Polls continue to indicate widespread support for what Moscow refers to as the “special military operation,” which might pose a far more significant threat to the Kremlin than pro-Western liberal criticism of Putin.
As the capital celebrated Moscow Day with street celebrations and performances on Saturday, rumblings of unease even reached Russia’s typically submissive parliament.
A firework show in honor of the anniversary should be canceled, according to Sergei Mironov, the head of the ostensible opposition but Putin-supporting Just Russia party, who made the statement on Twitter.
Semyon Pegov, a well-known war correspondent, posted a message on Telegram in which he referred to the Moscow celebrations as “blasphemous” and the Russian government’s refusal to enter a full-scale conflict as “schizophrenic.”
It stated that Russia will either cease to exist or become itself through the emergence of a new political class.