Nearly 90 days after Vladimir Putin’s “military special operation” in Ukraine, Russian troops appear to be so demoralized and desperate to surrender that they have begun intentionally injuring themselves.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate on Saturday released audio footage of an allegedly intercepted call that revealed the new batshit trend.
A man identified as a Russian soldier from an air raid brigade in Ukraine’s Kherson region can be heard venting his frustration to his mother and explaining why he wants to give up the fight.
“Why should they [the Ukrainians] give up? We are on their land,” the soldier says to his mother. “It’s not going to end anytime soon. What the hell do I need this for? At 20 years old…I’m not interested in Ukraine at all. I have to come back and resign,” he says.
His astonished mother asks why there are no Russian troops in Ukraine, determined to continue the struggle for the sake of “patriotism”, but soldier Nikita only 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 there to talk about? He served in Chechnya.”
His shocked mother goes on to argue that someone needs to “defend Russia” to keep the West from attacking, echoing the Kremlin narrative, dominating Russia’s state-controlled news outlets, that Putin’s war was started over an imminent NATO attack to stop.
“They will just kill us all, it will be World War IV and Russia will lose!” she declares.
“Well, then maybe Putin will change his mind… There are no people, there are no ammunition,” he said, adding that his own commander had sent letters trying to withdraw his brigade, to no avail.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He said less than 50 percent of his brigade remained.
“Our people just disappear by themselves. Some of them have disappeared without a trace, some have been captured, some are in hiding, some are already in Russia,” he said.
The bugged phone chat wasn’t the only one to suggest Russian troops were taking desperate measures to escape the war. In a similar recording released by Ukrainian intelligence on Friday, a woman identified as a Russian soldier’s wife tells him to “fall off a tank.”
“There’s no way out,” she says. “Otherwise you’ll be there by September … They don’t swap you out because everyone refuses.”
“Sure thing, what stupid fuck would come here?” he says.
His wife argues that “falling out of a tank” is only one option. “You just don’t have to shoot yourself in the leg because who the hell knows how that would end. Or have someone hit you on the side,” she says, so his kidneys would be injured. “I don’t fucking know! Because you could go straight home from the hospital.”
The alleged soldier appears to be seriously considering the proposal, as he recalls how he and about 300 other troops took control of a village two days earlier when he said a “fuck a battalion commander” was all men ordered grenades thrown into the basements of local homes without first checking who was inside.
“It’s a good thing they didn’t fucking throw the grenades because when the boys went in there were four little kids.”
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