The deaths of dozens of Russian soldiers in a new year missile strike on a building in occupied eastern Ukraine have prompted recriminations among critics of the Russian military.
Russia’s defence ministry has so far conceded that 63 people were killed in the Ukrainian attack on Makiivka at around midnight on New Year’s Eve.
One commander’s wife accused the West of trying to destroy Russia.
But elsewhere military leaders were accused of incompetence.
Ukraine says as many as 400 people were killed or wounded at Makiivka, and numbers into the hundreds have been given by Russian nationalists on social media.
However, there is no way of verifying how many soldiers were killed when US-made Himars missiles hit a vocational college packed with conscripts. Ammunition was also being stored close to the site, which was reduced to rubble.
Whatever the number, this is the highest number of deaths acknowledged by Russia since it invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022.
Rallies were held in several cities in Russia’s south-western region of Samara, where governor Dmitry Azarov said many of the conscripts had lived.