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Pro-Kremlin military blogger dead after reporting Russia's losses in Avdiivka

by Abbey Fenbert February 22, 2024 1:39 AM 2 min read
The largely destroyed city of Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, on Feb. 15, 2024. The city was captured by Russian forces on Feb. 17, 2024. (Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images) 
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Ultranationalist Russian military blogger Andrey Morozov reportedly died by suicide days after posting claims that Russia suffered massive personnel losses in Avdiivka.

Morozov, who wrote under the pseudonym "Murz" on Telegram, was a pro-Kremlin commentator who participated in Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russian state-run media and other military bloggers said he died by suicide on Feb. 20.

Morozov sparked outrage among pro-Russian outlets when he claimed on Feb. 18 that the Russian military lost 16,000 soldiers and 300 armored vehicles in its assault on Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast.

Ukrainian troops withdrew from the embattled industrial city on Feb. 17 after months of heavy fighting. Russian forces launched an offensive aimed at capturing Avdiivka in October 2023.

Morozov's reports of heavy losses drew intense criticism in pro-Russian circles, and he deleted the post. He claimed he was ordered to take the post down by someone known as "Comrade Colonel."

In his final posts, he wrote about his intention to take his own life and asked to be buried in Russian-occupied Luhansk Oblast.

Moscow has begun cracking down on right-wing commentators who criticize Russian leaders' handling of the war against Ukraine. Following the brief Wagner Group uprising led by Yevgeny Prigozhin in June 2023, Russian authorities arrested former warlord Igor Girkin for inciting extremism online.

Girkin was sentenced on Jan. 25 to four years in prison.

The Kremlin hides the true number of casualties incurred by its invasion of Ukraine.

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8:28 PM

FT: Russia may be gearing up for large-scale offensive against Ukraine.

Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale offensive in late spring or summer, aiming to capture more land in Ukraine's partially-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Financial Times reported on April 13, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western officials.
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