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Russian soldiers are apparently so sick of Vladimir Putin’s “stupid” war in Ukraine that they are now openly plotting with their own commanders to go AWOL.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate released a recording on Thursday that is said to show precisely that happening, with a soldier heard in a purportedly intercepted phone call detailing the plan.
The soldier, identified by Ukrainian intelligence as one of many men “mobilized” by authorities in occupied Donetsk, complains that he and others in his battalion are so under-equipped that even the Chechen forces fighting alongside them mock them as “meat.”
“Everyone who is here … I’m telling you … everyone is planning to take off on the 26th,” the purported soldier says.
“Isn’t that stupid?” says the other man, apparently a relative back home.
“Isn’t it stupid that we’re here?” the unnamed soldier shoots back.
He goes on to explain that the troops have decided to abscond “on the basis of the fact that they put us on the front with absolutely nothing.”
“I want to tell you even more,” he says, adding that a “battalion commander is leaving with us and even a staff colonel.”
“They don’t provide us with any [equipment],” he says, adding that the rifles given to snipers are “from 1945.”
Other units “look at them and go, ‘Holy shit, what would you need those for?’ They laugh at us. You know what they call us? Blessed. We ask, ‘Why blessed?’ They say because we are walking around with no equipment, no helmets, without anything. … The Chechens call us meat.”
“It’s not desertion, because we shouldn’t be on this territory… We crossed the border as 200s,” he says, using a Russian military term for those killed in battle. “We’re not actually here. So if they say I’m a deserter, fuck off, I’m not here. Prove otherwise.”
Other Russian soldiers are said to have taken equally drastic measures to get themselves out of the war. Ukrainian intelligence has released several recordings in recent days that purportedly show Russian soldiers resorting to injuring themselves in an effort to get pulled from the war.
On Thursday, Ukraine’s Security Service released another recording said to reveal that trend. In the purportedly intercepted call between two Russian soldiers, one of the men tells his friend that fighting is getting more and more intense by the day, and despite daily fatalities, the military leadership is not providing backup.
“Take someone else’s weapon, a Ukrainian one, and shoot yourself in the legs,” his friend advises.