As the Russians withdrew, Putin was criticized by the Hawks, who declared his war

“Hello, hello, is anyone home?” one request. “Are we ready to resist an attack in this direction?”

Days later, it became clear that the answer was no. Ukrainian forces broke through thin Russian defenses in Balakliya and other nearby towns in northeastern Ukraine. By the end of this week, some analysts estimated that the territory Ukraine recaptured amounted to about 1,000 square miles, a potential turning point into a war of attrition this summer.

“It is time to punish the commanders who allowed these things,” said Maksim Fomin, a pro-Russian blogger in eastern Ukraine. video was announced on Friday, claiming that Russian forces did not even attempt to resist as Ukrainian troops advanced this week.

Some bloggers join military units and work for state media or pro-Kremlin, preparing reports for television while providing more details about their Telegram accounts. surname. Others seem to operate more independently, relying on personal connections to get close to the front lines and adding their bank details to their Telegram posts to solicit donations.

Mr. Kuznets, a former Russian war correspondent, said that Russian military officials were tolerant of the presence of war bloggers even though they were occasionally criticized, in part because they agreed with the war bloggers. hawkish, imperialism of bloggers. And bloggers play an important role in spreading pro-Russian messages on social media, where their audience includes both Russians and Ukrainians.

Among bloggers, however, anger over Russian military mistakes reached a fever pitch on Saturday. One Is called Russia’s withdrawal was a “catastrophe”, while others said it exposed residents who had cooperated with Russian forces to the mourning of the Ukrainian military – potentially undermining the credibility of the Ukrainian military. occupation authorities throughout the territory still held by Russia.

And while the Kremlin maintains that the invasion is just a “special military operation”, some bloggers insisted on Saturday that Russia is in fact fighting an all-out war – not only against Ukraine, but also against a united West that is backing. Kyiv.

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