Three Russian military bloggers have suddenly launched into damning criticism of the operation, and especially the debacle of a failed crossing of the Siverskyi Donets river last week. The three bloggers combined have more than 3 million subscribers on Telegram.
A prominent former officer who regularly appears on state television also weighed in with a gloomy view of Russia's military prospects in Ukraine.
Such public criticism of the military operation in Ukraine is very rare. The Kremlin insists the campaign is on schedule.
The carping appears to have been triggered by a catalog of setbacks, the worst being the disastrous attempts to cross the Siverskyi Donets crossing last week. Satellite imagery shows at least 70 Russian armored vehicles and tanks were destroyed and hundreds of soldiers may have been killed.
On the evening of May 12, prominent Russian military correspondent Yuri Kotenok reposted accounts and images of the failed crossing, including one from a Ukrainian source.
Kotenok, who has nearly 300,000 subscribers to his Telegram channel, reposted one account that castigated the Russian officer responsible and blamed him for crowding so many vehicles in a small area by the river.
In response to criticism from some subscribers, Kotenok retorted: "If you want fairy tales, then you have come to the wrong place. In such a case you should go to officialdom."
He said his role was "to provide with correct assessment, to speak good of the good, and bad of the bad, but to say the TRUTH."