Pro-war Russians criticize the Ukrainian war effort for not being tough enough

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RIGA, Latvia – Battlefield setbacks in Ukraine are sparking growing criticism of the Russian military among Russians who support the war but are increasingly frustrated with the way it is being fought.

Military analysts, war veterans, mercenaries and journalists are among those who have begun speaking out on social media and state television against the blunders and shortcomings that continue to plague Russia’s efforts in Ukraine, even after the Russian military scaled back its targets for capturing territory in the eastern Donbass region.

Thousands of Russians have been arrested or harassed because they oppose President Vladimir Putin’s decision to go to war. Pro-war critics differ – they support the war but are frustrated with the pace of progress and in many cases want Putin to get tougher.

“Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, please decide, are we going to war or are we ending?” Alexander Arutionov, a military veteran who writes on blogs under the name Razvidos, asked for his identity. cable the account. “If we are fighting, we need to fight! And we need to strike everything. There is no other way to win a war.”

Others frankly question whether Russia could have won the war without radical adjustments to its tactics or the mass mobilization of Russian reservists. A British intelligence report earlier this week estimated that Russia had lost as much as a third of the 190,000-strong force it originally deployed. Russia is also steadily sending in reinforcements, including regular contract troops alongside reservists, conscripts and mercenaries, for a current total of about 167,000, according to one Ukrainian. Appreciation Tuesday.

There must be a mobilization, otherwise we will lose the war. Written by Vladlin Tatarsky, a former fighter in the Donbass separatist militia who commented on his position cable To more than 270 thousand followers.

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The criticism reflects criticism of American officials and Western military experts who expressed their astonishment at the poor performance of the Russian army, which on the eve of the war was supposed to be the second most powerful army in the world. Poor planning, tactical errors, substandard equipment and weapons, as well as stiff resistance by the Ukrainian armed forces thwarted Russia’s original plan to capture Kyiv, and is now hampering its efforts to capture Donbass.

Why is Russia struggling in eastern Ukraine, in the maps

US officials said Russian forces were making gains, but at a slower pace than Russian military planners had envisaged. Meanwhile, Russia continues to incur heavy losses in men and equipment, leading Western military experts to question how long the Russians will continue to endure offensive operations.

Russian critics ask the same question. A retired colonel and a prominent military analyst stunned television viewers Monday with a candid assessment of the challenges facing Russia. With the United States and its allies ramping up large quantities of advanced weapons for Ukrainian forces, the situation for Russian forces “will frankly get worse,” Mikhail Khodarionok said on the “60 Minutes” talk show on the state-run Rossiya-1 channel. “We are in complete geopolitical isolation and the whole world is against us, even if we don’t want to admit it.”

In an appearance earlier this month, he noted that even mass mobilization would not help Russia given the superiority of NATO weapons being supplied to Ukraine. Calling in more untrained men is not a solution, he said, “because we don’t have modern weapons and equipment in our reserves.”

“Sending people armed with weapons from last year into the war of the 21st century to fight against NATO’s world-class weapons would not be the right thing to do,” he added, suggesting a radical restructuring of Russia’s military-industrial complex as a solution.

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Harsh condemnations are also circulating on Telegram, the social media channel that has emerged as the dominant forum for news and discussion of the war, among Russians and Ukrainians alike.

Yuri Kotionok, a journalist and military analyst with over 290,000 followers wrote in his message cable the account. He added that it appears that neither of them exist.

Meanwhile, he noted, “The West speaks and acts, and is pushing Ukraine into war [with weapons]. Russia is waiting for this stinking heap to be blown by the wind in our direction.”

A failed attempt by Russian forces last week to cross the Seversky Donets River, which stands in the way of their westward advance, provoked ridicule. Commentators have expressed contempt for the tactical and leadership failures that contributed to what may be the biggest Russian setback to the ground war to date.

Up to 485 soldiers were killed and 80 armored vehicles were lost when Russian forces together with the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 41st Army of the Combined Arms raised a pontoon bridge across the river, only to be destroyed by Ukrainian artillery, according to Ukrainian reports cited by the Ministry of Defense. Institute for the Study of War and Forensic Medicine study by the Atlantic Council.

ISW said the Russians then attempted at least one other similar maneuver at the exact same point, only to destroy that force as well. According to the head of the Luhansk administration, Serhi Heidithe Russians made a total of five failed attempts at the same point of the river.

“How stupid can you be?” German Kulikowski, a Russian journalist, asked on his Telegram account. “Perhaps not crap but vandalism?”

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“Honestly, it is much easier to explain this situation with sabotage,” he added sarcastically.

Tatarsky, a former fighter in the Donbass, called a “military genius” who ordered the operation to be publicly announced and held accountable. He said the Donbass offensive was slowed in part by the actions of these leaders.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on April 12 that Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine would undoubtedly achieve its goals. (Video: Reuters)

Russian journalists and analysts say the criticism reflects a broader discontent with the way the war is unfolding within the Russian military and security services. A Russian journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he opposes the war and fears the consequences of public reporting, said that more space has been given to speak publicly for pro-war Russians who undoubtedly demonstrated patriotic credentials.

Many in the military believe that limiting the war’s initial goals, curtailed after Russia’s failure to capture Kyiv, was a mistake, write Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, two prominent Russian investigative journalists and non-resident fellows at the Center for European Policy Analysis.

They are now arguing that Russia is not fighting Ukraine, it is fighting NATO. So senior officers concluded that the Western coalition is fighting fully (by providing increasingly sophisticated weaponry) while its forces operate under peacetime constraints such as a ban on air strikes against some key areas of Ukraine’s infrastructure, “Soldatov and Borogan.” books. In short, the army is now demanding all-out war, including mobilization.

Whether the criticism reaches Putin and his inner circle is questionable. Putin has bragged in the past that he doesn’t have time for social media and the Kremlin has said so do not have Cell phone.

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