Growing evidence of a military disaster on the Donets pierces a pro-Russian bubble.
...The destruction wreaked on a Russian battalion as it tried to cross a river in northeastern Ukraine last week is emerging as among the deadliest engagements of the war, with estimates based on publicly available evidence now suggesting that well over 400 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded....
Perhaps most striking, the Russian battlefield failure is resonating with a stable of pro-Russian war bloggers -- some of whom are embedded with troops on the front line -- who have reliably posted to the social network Telegram with claims of Russian success and Ukrainian cowardice....
As the news of the losses at the river crossing in Bilohorivka started to spread, some Russian bloggers did not appear to hold back in their criticism of what they said was incompetent leadership.
"I've been keeping quiet for a long time," Yuri Podolyaka, a war blogger with 2.1 million followers on Telegram, said in a video posted on Friday, saying that he had avoided criticizing the Russian military until now.
"The last straw that overwhelmed my patience was the events around Bilohorivka, where due to stupidity -- I emphasize, because of the stupidity of the Russian command -- at least one battalion tactical group was burned, possibly two."
Mr. Podolyaka ridiculed the Kremlin line that the war is going "according to plan." He told his viewers in a five-minute video that, in fact, the Russian Army was short of functional unmanned drones, night-vision equipment and other kit "that is catastrophically lacking on the front."
"Yes, I understand that it's impossible for there to be no problems in war," he said. "But when the same problems go on for three months, and nothing seems to be changing, then I personally and in fact millions of citizens of the Russian Federation start to have questions for these leaders of the military operation."
Another popular blogger, who goes by Starshe Eddy on Telegram, wrote that the fact that commanders left so much of their force exposed amounted to "not idiocy, but direct sabotage."...