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Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is running the risk of losing the support of some former proxy leaders and veterans in Ukraine's eastern Donbas over Russia's failure to push back Ukrainian forces west of Donetsk, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update.
Igor Girkin, a former Russian FSB agent and a key figure in the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine when he helped seize Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast, in 2014, called out Putin for failing to push Ukrainian forces out of artillery range of the city of Donetsk, the ISW reported.
Girkin also criticized Putin's Dec. 9 statement claiming that Russia's war in Ukraine was "stable."
A prominent Russian military blogger accused the Russian military of failing to defend the city, despite having no difficulty doing so over the last eight years of Russia's war in eastern Ukraine, the ISW also reported.
Recently on Dec. 9, explosions were reported in Donetsk. Russian proxies in the occupied city claimed that the city center was shelled and several buildings were damaged. Ukraine did not comment on the explosions.
Russia has occupied the city of Donetsk since 2014 and has made gaining control over the entirety of both of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts one of the major goals of its war in Ukraine. The area has been the scene of intense fighting since the start of Russia's all-out assault in February.