The series of devastating attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure and civilian targets that plunged all of Ukraine into chaos, panic and mourning on Monday has been met with enthusiasm in Russian radical war circles. In recent weeks there has been increasingly open criticism of what they see as failing policies of the Russian Defense Ministry and of President Vladimir Putin himself. “Now I am 100 percent satisfied with the special military operation,” Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who was promoted to general by Putin last week, wrote on his Telegram channel. “This is one for the Krimbrug. Hooray!” wrote the author of the infamous military war channel Moscow Calling. The appointment by Putin, immediately after the Crimean explosion, of the army commander Sergei Surovikin, who is known to be very violent, was also received with enthusiasm over the weekend. Earlier calls were made for the resignation of defense minister Shoigu and army general Valeri Gerasimov. Also read Rain from cruise missiles on Ukraine also shows weakness Russian army In total, Russia fired more than 80 missiles at almost all major Ukrainian cities on Monday, according to Ukraine. As far as is known, at least eleven people were killed and more than sixty injured. The attacks are in direct retaliation for the “terrorist attack” on the Crimean Bridge in the Kerch Strait last Saturday , President Vladimir Putin said at a special meeting of Russia’s security council on Monday morning. Putin equated the government in Kiev with a “terrorist group”. The Russian president was referring to the meeting he had with Aleksandr Bastrykin on Sunday evening. The chairman of the Commission of Inquiry had told Putin that the explosion on the Crimean Bridge, which Russia says was committed using a truck loaded with explosives, was an “act of terrorism” by the Ukrainian security service SBU. In Russia, an attack on the bridge was considered a red line. Although Putin took two days to respond, the response was as expected: scathing. ‘Mass Attack’ “This morning, at the suggestion of the Ministry of Defense and according to the plans of the Russian General Staff, a massive attack was carried out with high-precision long-range weapons in the air, at sea and on land, hitting energy supplies, military objects and communications facilities in Ukraine.” Putin told the 12 permanent members, including his staunch aides Vice-President Dmitry Medvedev and Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, intelligence chiefs Aleksandr Bortnikov (FSB) and Sergei Naryshkin (SVR), and defense minister Sergei Shoigu. Putin threatened that new “terrorist attempts” by Ukraine would be answered just as forcefully. In addition, the president accused Ukraine of ‘assassination of public figures, journalists and scientists’, of ‘terrorist shelling on Donetsk’, of an attack on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline and of ‘nuclear terrorism’ targeting the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plants in Ukraine and the southern Russian city of Kursk. He also referred to the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which was recently the target of a sabotage action, according to the West perpetrated by Russia. “We all know the ultimate beneficiary of that act.” When Putin gave the floor to Shoigu, the live connection was cut. Instead, the Special Representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, said in a separate briefing that “all planned targets had been achieved” in Ukraine. Neither Putin nor Konashenkov spoke about the Ukrainian civilian casualties. ‘Defeated Russian army’ The question is whether, and for how long, Putin can dampen the mounting criticism of the radical flank with harsh retaliation and personnel changes. Because criticism sounded immediately on Monday. For example, the oft-cited military channel ‘Bulba Prestolov’ wrote that this was the “should have followed immediately” response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February. “And then for three or four weeks.” The author expressed his annoyance that Zelensky and his entourage have still not been eliminated. “This is the first time in eight months that no scouring and voids have been targeted. But [this attack] comes very late, with a mobilized enemy army, the flow of Western aid, and a defeated [Russian] army.” In recent days, Russian state media focused mainly on the lightning-fast recovery of traffic over the ‘indestructible’ Crimean Bridge. On Saturday evening, the Russian political analyst Dmitri Estafjev appeared in the propaganda program ‘Solovjov Live’ , who addressed Russians in their living rooms in a pedantic manner. “We are all very excited to complain, but the bridge that stands and will remain. Complaining is a sign of weakness. Now is the time to act, to sign up as a volunteer,” said Estafjev, with a weary sigh. For those who want more context in the war in Ukraine, there are countless books, films, documentaries and podcasts. NRC provides tips in this guide. A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of October 11, 2022