Russian milbloggers have said their army is “at war with our own stupidity and sloppiness”, after reports emerged that as many as 100 of Moscow’s troops were killed when a Ukrainian strike struck a gathering of soldiers waiting for their commander to give a speech.
According to unconfirmed Russian sources, the massacre occurred near Kreminna in Luhansk Oblast when members of the 20th Combined Arms Army gathered in a large group not far from the front lines and in range of Kyiv’s HIMARS rockets for two hours.
Kyiv has not officially confirmed it was behind the strike but a Ukrainian official speaking on condition of anonymity, told Kyiv Post: “It’s a really funny situation there. They stood in the open air for two hours listening to the speech.
“That is enough time to fix them, transport the HIMARS, enter the coordinates and hit them.”
The incident provoked fury among Russia’s milblogger community.
Prominent commentator Rybar, said: “A tragic incident occurred in one of the divisions that were about to go on the offensive. For two hours people stood in a crowd in one place and waited for the division commander to say his motivating words.
“But instead of him, the HIMARS MLRS and enemy artillery had their say. In the Yuzhnodonetsk direction, in a few days there were fewer victims in the battles than from the criminal stupidity of the division commander.”
Other milbloggers were even less restrained in their criticism of Russia’s military command.
One named Dva Majors, wrote on Telegram: “Bitch, you can’t stand in a column for two hours in one place!”
Taking aim at the Kremlin’s habit of glossing over major losses of troops, he added: “We are at war with our own stupidity and bullshit, smeared from above with beautiful reports.”
Another, Vysokygovorit, highlighted that Russian commanders did not appear to have learned from previous incidents and those responsible “must be shot.”
He wrote: “If by the middle of the second year of the war there are commanders that carry columns to the front and build personnel in one big pile, and then wait for the enemy artillery to strike, then such commanders must be shot before the formation, even if they are colonels or even generals.”
If confirmed, the loss of hundreds of Russian troops near Kreminna would not be the first time such a disaster has befallen Moscow’s army.
Shortly after the new year, Ukrainian forces struck an unprotected compound housing hundreds of newly mobilized Russian troops in the occupied town of Makiivka in the Donetsk region. Russian officials acknowledged that at least 89 people were killed but Ukrainian sources as well as many Russian war correspondents say the death toll is closer to 400.
Even the lower figure represented the biggest loss of life from a single strike as officially reported by Moscow since the start of the invasion in February.