Nearly 90 days into Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, Russian troops have apparently become so demoralized and desperate to stop that they have begun to deliberately injure themselves.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate on Saturday released an audio recording of what it said was an intercepted call revealing the new trend.
A man identified as a Russian soldier in an air assault brigade based in Ukraine’s Kherson region can be heard expressing his frustrations to his mother and explaining why he wants to give up the fight.
“Why would they [the Ukrainians] abandonment? We are on their land,” the soldier told his mother. “It’s not going to end anytime soon. Why the hell do I need this? At 20… Ukraine doesn’t interest me at all. I have to come back and quit,” he said.
His astonished mother asks why there are no Russian troops in Ukraine determined to continue the fight in the name of “patriotism”, but the soldier, Nikita, scoffs.
“I had a commander… who shot himself in the leg just to get out of here. And that was at the very beginning! What is he talking about? He served in Chechnya.
His shocked mother goes on to say that someone must ‘defend Russia’ to prevent the West from attacking, echoing the mainstream Kremlin’s narrative on state-controlled Russian news that Putin’s war has been launched. to stop an impending NATO assault.
“They will just kill us all, it will be World War IV and Russia will lose! she says.
“Well then maybe Putin will change his mind… There is no one there, there is no ammunition,” he said, adding that his own commander had sent letters trying to to withdraw his brigade, in vain.
He said less than 50% of his brigade remained.
“Our people are disappearing on their own. Some of them disappeared without a trace, some were taken prisoner, some are in hiding, some are already in Russia,” he said.
The tapped phone conversation was not the only one to suggest that Russian troops were taking desperate measures to escape the war. In a similar recording released Friday by Ukrainian intelligence, a woman identified as the wife of a Russian soldier urges him to “fall off a tank”.
“There is no way out,” she said. “Otherwise, you’ll be here until September… They won’t trade you, because everyone refuses. »
“Well, clearly, what kind of stupid asshole would come here? ” he says.
His wife maintains that a “drop off a tank” is only one option. “You just don’t need to shoot yourself in the leg, because who the fuck knows how it would end.” Or let someone kick you in the side,” she says, so her kidneys are injured. “Damn, I don’t know! Because you could go home straight from the hospital.
The alleged soldier appears to be seriously considering the proposal as he recalls how he and around 300 other soldiers took over a village two days earlier, when he says a “bastard battalion commander” ordered all the men throwing grenades into the basements of local houses, without checking who was inside first.
“It’s good that they didn’t throw the grenades, because when the guys came in there were four little kids sitting there. »