They were not allowed to do so by the army command, but they did it anyway. Russian soldiers called the Home Front by phone from Ukraine to complain, often in no uncertain terms. “Damn it, civilian bodies are lying here in the street,” it seemed, among other things. The New York Times exclusively obtained thousands of phone calls, which were intercepted by the Ukrainian government early in March, and studied them for two months.
The story of Russian soldiers at the front does not lie shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They talk about military failures and executions of Ukrainian civilians. They condemn their leaders to the highest degree. “Putin is an idiot,” soldier Alexander said on the phone. “He wants to take Kyiv, but we absolutely can’t do that.”
The New York Times mentions only the soldiers’ first name for their protection. That is why the audience is not mentioned by name. Many statements by Russian soldiers will be punished in their own country. For example, soldier Nikita says to his girlfriend: Damn, there are corpses on the road. Civilians are lying on the road. He’s upset.” Limbs spread out on the road, already swollen. Nobody picks them up. None of us, he is a silly citizen, ”Alexander also told one of his relatives.
Earlier it was revealed that the Russian military had no idea that they were being used in a war against Ukraine. “We will all spend two to three days training,” said Nikita. “We were deceived like children.” Other soldiers also confirmed this, like Alexei to his partner: I did not know that this would happen. They said we were going to a training camp. Those bastards didn’t tell us anything.”
The same voice with Sergey in a conversation with his mother: no one told us that we were going to war. We were only notified the day before we left.” Sergey also says: “Mom, this war is the dumbest decision our government has ever made, I think.”
Russian recruit: We have not received any training
Soldiers also complain of strategic errors and lack of supplies. They admit to imprisoning and killing civilians and looting homes and businesses. Many want to get rid of their military contracts. Sergey says to his girlfriend: “On TV they just want to deceive people, as if ‘everything is under control, there is no war, only a special operation.’ But it is actually a fucking war. “
Only two weeks later, the soldiers at the front realized that they could not take only Kyiv. On the mobile phone they expressed their astonishment at the “professional” Ukrainian armed forces. They refer to the enemy by the word jokhulUkrainian swear word. We can not take Kyiv. “We just take the villages, and that’s really it,” Alexander says. “They wanted to do it all at once, but they did not succeed,” Sergey told his partner. Sergey tells his father: The tanks and armored vehicles were burnt. Roads were flooded. Now we can go no further. ” Nikita sees it this way: I never thought I would end up in a state of nonsense like this.
Nikita says to his girlfriend: “Our troops shot at us, they thought we were Khokhlats … We thought we were finished.” Sergey also complains to his girlfriend about the lack of decent materials. “Some men took Ukrainian body armor for themselves…their NATO armor is better than ours.”
Three weeks into the war – it will be mid-March – the soldiers are talking about heavy losses. According to Nikita, a soldier of the 656th National Guard Regiment, he killed 90 men around him when they were ambushed. “Sixty percent of the regiment has left,” Nikita says to his mother. Yevgeny tells his partner that “there is nothing left” of his battalion. Another soldier saw the rows of boxes containing the bodies of 400 young paratroopers in a hangar at the airport. Sergey also talks about 400 paratroopers on his mother’s cell phone. Only 38 of them are still alive. Because our leaders sent soldiers to the massacre.” Soldiers from the Air Force reported that an entire battalion of 600 soldiers had been eliminated.
Russian soldiers also talk about their atrocities. Sergey, for example, confesses to his girlfriend that he became a “murderer” when his captain ordered him to execute three men who “passed through our warehouses.” We detained them, stripped them, and checked all their clothes. Then we had to decide whether to release them. If we let them go, they might betray our position. So it was decided to shoot them in the forest. ” When asked why the men were not arrested, Sergey said: “We had to feed them, and we did not have enough food ourselves.”
Sergey says frankly to his girlfriend: “They told us that there were many civilians around where we were going. We were ordered to kill everyone we came across. Because otherwise they could betray our positions. It seems that we will do it. Kill every civilian who passes and throw them in the forest. I’ve already become a murderer. That’s why I don’t want to kill more people, especially those I have to look in the eyes for.”
War affects the morale of soldiers. To his partner Vadim says:,,,,,,,,,,,,, damn. I accept a civilian job. And my son won’t join the army, 100% sure. Tell him he’s going to be a doctor.” But they can’t get away from the front. “They don’t let anyone quit. They say you will go to prison for five years, ”said Sergey to his girlfriend.
Others want to stay for the money. For example, Alexander says to his partner: “I am tired of this decade, but where can I make so much money?” They also enrich themselves with loot. “Go and find an apartment in Orenburg,” Alexander says to his partner, because he and his colleague have found enough money to buy it in a home safe. Nikita also confirms this to a friend: “Everything was stolen, all alcohol was drunk, cash was lost. Everyone is doing it here. “
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