Ukraine’s advance on the southern frontline’s Verbove area has triggered “panic” for a Russian source affiliated to Vladimir Putin’s elite military unit VDV, according to a US-based war monitoring think-tank.
The Ukrainian General Staff reported that its forces captured new unspecified locations near Verbove on 24 September and top general Oleksandr Tarnavsky said more breakthroughs are coming for the war-hit nation that is deep into a counteroffensive against Mr Putin’s troops.
A VDV-affiliated source reported that Ukrainian forces broke into Verbove on 22 September and continued attacking the settlement with armoured vehicles as of Sunday, as per The Institute for the Study of War think-tank.
The source later said Ukrainian forces occupied half of Verbove as of Sunday.
“For how long can Shoigu’s MoD hide the breakthrough in Verbove?” the source said, accusing the Russian ministry of defence of trying to conceal Ukraine’s tactical progress in Verbove.
Territorial advancement and control of Verbove will help Ukraine’s critical counteroffensive goal of advancing further towards southern and eastern regions. Verbove is a few miles east of Robotyne, that was retaken by Ukraine earlier this month.
This comes as Russian military bloggers are complaining about the battlefield situation in the continuing war against Ukraine, the war-torn country’s defence ministry has revealed in a video that compiles their Telegram messages.
Russia’s war bloggers, an assortment of military correspondents and freelance commentators with army backgrounds, have enjoyed broad freedom from the Kremlin to publish their views about the war, now in its 20th month. Mr Putin even made one of them a member of his human rights council last year.
“A lot of you are wondering how the war’s going. At first we thought about explaining it to you from our perspective. Then we realised we couldn’t improve on what the Russians are saying,” the ministry said in the video and took a dig on the war frontline updates given by Russian bloggers with millions of followers.
“Does anyone out there have enough balls to start telling the truth to higher management, I don’t understand?” read the first Telegram message from early August by a Russian military blogger known as “the 13th”.
“You f***ing wait until the Ukrainians come to Crimea, and then I’ll see how you make excuses there.”
Another Russian military blogger, known as Romanov whose comments were shared in the Ukrainian ministry’s video, said there are no words for the military assault in Ukraine’s Kherson.
“What kind of c**p is happening right now in the Kherson direction... The enemy is rolling out in boats along the Dnieper,” he was heard saying in a Telegram message from 23 August.
In another post two days later, the military blogger complained Russian troops were “being cut to pieces” there and efforts were being made to evacuate, but the brigade commander “is afraid to report to the top about the current situation”.
On 30 August, a Russian military blogger was heard saying in a warning message on Telegram that the Russians should “not expect anything good and it will only get worse”.
“To tell the truth, I am no longer so confident in some kind of ‘Victory’ while the whole country is dancing to sounds approaching the cries of the country’s leadership,” the blogger who goes by the name “13th” said.
Several of Russia’s military bloggers with closer access to the battlefield situation – virtually and otherwise – have been actively sharing details on the casualties and attacks in Ukraine and its territories controlled by Mr Putin’s forces.