Kremlin orders the Russian army to ramp up the Ukraine offensive ‘from all directions’ after suffering heavy losses
- Russian civilians are starting to oppose Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian war
- Thousands of citizens have been protesting on the streets across the country
- The Kremlin is refusing to confirm if it has suffered any casualties in the conflict
- Prominent Russian celebrities have announced they oppose the current war
The Kremlin last night ordered its military to ramp up the Ukraine offensive ‘from all directions’ – as ordinary Russians started to express their horror at the war being waged in their name.
In an authoritarian state that brooks little real opposition, this suggests Vladimir Putin is losing the support of his people.
Protests were staged on streets and across social media as fears grew that Putin’s war was going badly – and was likely to get worse.
Moscow has been refusing to admit to suffering casualties during their invasion of Ukraine, but photographs showing burned out armoured vehicles and dead soldiers – pictured here outside the city of Kharkiv – suggest the Russians are facing an unexpected level of opposition
In Kyiv, pictured, the population as well as the military are preparing for the onslaught
Citizens in Moscow have been protesting against the war, risking a violent backlash from Russian security forces
Videos and photographs from the frontlines surrounding Kyiv indicate that Russia is suffering serious casualties, despite Moscow’s silence on any combat losses.
Siberian student Daria Lykova, 18, posted: ‘Putin’s “peaceful demilitarisation” is a war crime of an international scale. I’m in close contact with my loved ones in the victim state. Their houses are shaking from explosions. They can’t sleep, eat, or merely exist in peace. Everyone is scared.’
Many celebrities in Moscow have come out strongly against the war.Author Alexander Tsypkin warned: ‘This is a mistake that can lead to a total disaster. Recognising the independence of the disputed territories is one thing. Bombing is another.’
Putin’s ‘goddaughter’ Ksenia Sobchak – a TV star and former presidential candidate who has known the Kremlin leader since her childhood – said: ‘We are all now trapped in this situation. No exit. We, the Russians, will be dealing with the consequences of today for many years to come.’
TV presenter Leonid Parfenov added: ‘It’s not a terrible ending, it’s a horror without end.’
Ekaterina Solonitskaya, the ex-wife of Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, said: ‘Not a single centimetre of annexed land is worth the life of one person.’
Russia’s powerful state media has hit back at critics by upping its doses of propaganda, with ‘news’ bulletins peppered with warnings to protesters and dissenters that they may be committing ‘treason’.
The invasion has been criticised across the globe, with protests against the war, including outside the Russian Embassy in Dublin – which was daubed in red paint
Artists and writers who hold anti-Russian views and speak out against the ‘special military operation’ by calling it an aggressive war may be stripped of state awards and honorary titles, a government source said.
Around Moscow’s Red Square yesterday, there was no shortage of young people willing to criticise Russia’s leader.
Kristina Bykova, 23, said: ‘To attack Ukraine without warning. That’s disgusting. I don’t know anything about Ukraine, but I don’t support Putin – he shouldn’t have started a military conflict.’
Western sanctions were also a concern for a 35-year-old doctor named Sofiya.
She said: ‘Putin has gone too far and provoked the West. Everything will now change. I have cancelled my holiday in Britain, there are no flights. My friend cannot pay money from her bank account in London to Moscow because the bank is sanctioned.’
Computer salesman Artyom, 39, added: ‘We will not be able to afford Western brands because even if they are not sanctioned, the rouble has plunged.’
But Russia’s ex-president Dmitry Medvedev said sanctions were a sign of the West’s impotence in the conflict and he hinted at a severing of diplomatic ties, saying it was time to ‘padlock the embassies’.