Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia's region of Chechnya, criticized Moscow and suggested the use of low-yield nuclear weapons in Ukraine following Russian losses on the battlefield.
In a post on Vkontakte, a Russian version of Facebook, Kadyrov criticized Colonel-General Alexander Lapin, who he said should be demoted to a Private, and other Russian military officials for abandoning the east Ukrainian town of Lyman on Saturday.
Kadyrov said that in his personal opinion, "more drastic measures should be taken, right up to the declaration of martial law at the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons."
A plethora of comments on the post supported Kadyrov's criticism of the military and complained of military corruption and incompetence, all while supporting Moscow's invasion of Ukraine as a whole.
Russia repeatedly threatens use of nuclear weapons
Russia has repeatedly waved the threat of using nuclear weapons in response to Ukrainian advancements and Western assistance numerous times since the Invasion of Ukraine in February.
When President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of reservists earlier in September, he issued another thinly-veiled threat of Moscow’s readiness to use nuclear weapons in the conflict.
His televised address came days after the Ukrainian army pulled off a surprise counteroffensive to recapture territory around its second-largest city in Eastern Ukraine, Kharkiv.
"I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction... and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal," Putin said.
"I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction... and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal."Vladimir Putin
"It’s not a bluff," he added.
President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of four Ukrainian regions - including Donetsk, where Lyman is located during an official ceremony on Friday, placing them under Russia's nuclear umbrella.
During his speech, Putin claimed he would defend the newly annexed territories, which Russia now considers as their own territory, "with all our strength and all our means."
Russian bombers capable of carrying nukes detected near Finland
Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI) has detected an “irregular presence” of Russian TU-160 and TU-95 strategic bombers deployed to the Olenya Airbase near Finland.
According to satellite images taken by the firm, four TU-160s were detected on August 21rst and three TU-95s were detected on September 25th. There were no strategic bombers present at the airbase on August 12th.
“Through ongoing Patterns-of-Life, the system indicates that Engels air base is the possible departure point of the strategic bombers detected in Olenya airbase,” the report read.
Engels air base is home to Russia’s only strategic bombers stationed near Ukraine and is the home base for the 121rst Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment (121 TBAP) that flies the TU-160s and TU-95.
The bombers, capable of carrying cruise missiles and strategic nuclear weapons, have been active in the Ukrainian war since Moscow invaded in February. Throughout the war against Ukraine, the Russian Air Force has been unable to gain air superiority and has lost numerous aircraft.
Anna Ahronheim and Reuters contributed to this report.