20 Jun 2023
Russian soldiers stood still for two hours, making them sitting ducks, a Ukrainian official said.
Russian bloggers were angry after reports said the soldiers stood in the open waiting for a speech.
The Ukrainian official said it was more than enough time to transport HIMARS and "hit them."
A Ukrainian official confirmed reports that originated from a Russian milblogger that soldiers stood still for two hours for a commander's speech, leaving them sitting ducks for Ukraine's high mobility artillery rocket system, or HIMARS.
The unnamed official told the Kyiv Post: "It's a really funny situation there. They stood in the open air for two hours listening to the speech."
"That is enough time to fix them, transport the HIMARS, enter the coordinates and hit them," the official said
The official's comments confirm details of the attack outlined by the pro-war military blogger Rybar, who said that soldiers in a Russian division stood in one place for two hours.
He said they were waiting for their commander to give a motivational speech. Rybar said the attack, which he said involved HIMARS and Ukraine's artillery, happened in the city of Kreminna, in Luhansk.
No Ukrainian officials, including the one who spoke to the Post, have confirmed that Kyiv was behind the strike.
Russian sources also told the Kyiv Post that it was near Kreminna and said members of the 20th Combined Arms Army had gathered for two hours, though the outlet could not confirm the claims.
The impact of the strike has not been independently confirmed, but some reports put the number of dead at 100 and the number of dead and wounded at 200, Insider's Sam Fellman reported.
Rybar said the casualties were higher than in some recent battles.
Russian milbloggers reacted to the incident with fury, as Insider's Matthew Loh reported.
One blogger, who goes by the name Older Edda, said on Telegram, according to the Moscow Times' translation: "If by the middle of the second year of the war, there are commanders who bring columns to the front and gather personnel in one big pile, waiting for the enemy artillery to strike, then such commanders must be shot before the formation, even if they are colonels or generals."
Another Russian blogger, who goes by the name Two Majors, wrote: "Stand in a column for two hours in one place! Well, what are you doing, father commanders, you command people," according to the Moscow Times.
Russia's pro-war military bloggers have repeatedly expressed frustration with Russia's performance since invading Ukraine, which, instead of being a quick victory, has seen Russia's forces stuck in the east, where battles have been grinding for months.
Bloggers frequently push for more brutal tactics and have criticized individual commanders and leaders for their decisions.
The HIMARS — which are long-range, high-precision rocket launchers — were given to Ukraine by the US, and can hit targets up to 50 miles away. One expert told Insider last year that it is the perfect weapon for Ukraine, as Russia's poor logistics mean senior commanders often move close to the front.
Kreminna is likely within the range of HIMARS as well as Ukraine's 155mm artillery, Insider's Sam Fellman reported.