Nearly 90 days after the start of Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, Russian troops have apparently become so demoralized and desperate to stop that they have begun deliberately injuring 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 ‘stand up for Russia’ to stop the West from attacking, echoing the dominant Kremlin narrative on state-controlled Russian news that Putin’s war has been launched to stop an impending NATO assault.
“They’ll just kill us all, it’ll be World War IV and Russia will lose!” she declares.
“Well, then Putin might change his mind… There’s no one there, there’s no ammunition,” he said, adding that his own commander had sent letters in an attempt to have his brigade withdraw, to no avail.