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Russian nationalists call for Putin to step up war efforts after stunning Ukraine advances
11 September 2022, 18:47 | Updated: 11 September 2022, 20:11
Russian nationalists are raging and calling for President Vladimir Putin to step up their country's war efforts after a series of rapid victories by Ukraine.
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Ukraine took large swathes of eastern part of the country in recent days in a string of stunning gains.
The region has been occupied by Russia and its proxy states since the invasion, but the Ukrainian army has launched a fightback in the north-east this week, forcing the Russian army to pull back.
The Ukrainian advances around the vital supply link of Izyum signify the most significant progress since Russia withdrew from areas around Kyiv in April.
Ukraine said the victories were a turning point in the war, which began in February this year after Russia invaded.
Anti-Putin protest seen in London after Russia invades Ukraine
Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Chechen Republic in southern Russia and a hardcore Putin supporter, sought to downplay the Russian losses.
But Kadyrov, whose troops are heavily involved in the invasion, added: "If today or tomorrow changes are not made in the conduct of the special military operation, I will be forced to go to the country's leadership to explain to them the situation on the ground."
Meanwhile residents of the Russian capital celebrated Moscow Day on Saturday, with concerts, street parties and other festivities.
But some pro-war figures called for the celebrations to be cut short, according to Reuters.
Sergei Mironov, a Putin-loyalist, said on Twitter that the celebrations should be cancelled because of Russian troops still fighting at the front.
Meanwhile war correspondent Semyon Pegov called the festivities blasphemous" and demanded that the Russian government bolster its invasion efforts.
He added in a message on Telegram: "Either Russia will become itself through the birth of a new political elite ... or it will cease to exist."
Putin himself and the Kremlin have been quiet on the setbacks for the Russian invaders.
The Russian leader spent Saturday opening a new Ferris wheel in Moscow.
He said: "We take pride in Moscow, and love this city with its majestic antiquity and its modern and dynamic pace of life, the charm of its cosy parks, lanes and streets and abundance of business and cultural events."
Russian defence spokesman Igor Konashenkov said this weekend that the troops would be regrouped from the Balakliya and Izyum areas to the Donetsk region.
Izyum was a major base for Russian forces in the Kharkiv region.
Mr Konashenkov said the move is being made "in order to achieve the stated goals of the special military operation to liberate Donbas," one of the eastern Ukraine regions that Russia has declared sovereign.
The claim of a pullback to concentrate on Donetsk is similar to the justification Russia gave for pulling back its forces from the Kyiv region earlier this year.