Business is booming.

As Russians retreat, Putin is criticized by hawks trumpeting his war

“Hello, hello, anyone home?” a early. “Are we ready to repel an attack in this direction?”

Days later it became clear that the answer was no. Ukrainian forces captured Russia’s flimsy defenses in Balakliya and other nearby towns in northeastern Ukraine. This weekend, some analysts estimated that the area recaptured by Ukraine was about 1,000 square miles, a potential turning point in what had turned into a war of attrition this summer.

“It’s time to punish the commanders who allowed things like this,” Maksim Fomin, a pro-Russian blogger from eastern Ukraine, said in a statement. video published on Friday, claiming that Russian forces did not even try to resist when the Ukrainian army moved forward this week.

Embedded in military units, some bloggers work for state-run or pro-Kremlin media outlets, making reports for television and providing more details about their Telegram accounts. Others seem to operate more independently, relying on personal connections for near-frontline access, and adding their bank details to their Telegram messages to solicit donations.

Mr Kuznets, himself a former Russian war correspondent, said Russian military officials seemed to tolerate the presence of war bloggers despite their occasional criticism, in part because they agreed with the bloggers’ aggressive, imperialist views. And the bloggers play a vital role in spreading the pro-Russian message on social media, where both Russians and Ukrainians are among their audiences.

Still, anger over the Russian military’s mistakes peaked on Saturday among some bloggers. A called Russia’s withdrawal was a “catastrophe”, while others said the inhabitants cooperating with Russian forces were at the mercy of Ukrainian forces – potentially undermining the credibility of the occupying authorities over the entire territory Russia still possesses .

And while the Kremlin still insists the invasion is just a “special military operation,” several bloggers insisted on Saturday that Russia was, in fact, waging a full-fledged war — not just against Ukraine, but against a united West backing Kiev.