An intercepted phone call paints a picture of disaster and incompetence in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A man representing himself as a Russian soldier said Vladimir Putin’s troops were facing dismal conditions and fierce Ukrainian resistance, all while dealing with dishonest commanders and a lack of supplies.
The soldier said his unit was near the city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine.
According to the call, the Russian soldiers had been harassed with fire from rocket artillery, referencing the BM-21 “Grad” rocket launchers used by both Russia and Ukraine.
The man on the line wasn’t even sure whether the fire his vehicle column was taking came from the enemy or was friendly fire.
He recounted a demotivating exchange with the commanding officer of his unit, an officer he identified as “Ryazantsev.”
According to the caller, on the fourth day of the Russian invasion — which has now dragged on for nearly a month — the commander said the “special military operation” would be over in “mere hours.”
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“And these ‘mere hours’ are still ticking!” the man on the phone said.
He said a Russian soldier who wasn’t properly equipped with armor plates had asked the commander to help the unit obtain what it needed.
In response, the officer merely told the troops, “Steel yourself, son,” before disappearing.
“This is a f***ing circus, not a ‘military operation,’” the man said.
In a disturbing remark, he said the Russian army was unable to take out the bodies of his deceased comrades — forcing troops to “ride around” with their remains for five days.
The soldier used the Russian cargo code 200 for bodies.
The call isn’t the only indication suggesting that Russian leaders expected the “special military operation” to end quickly and decisively, only to devolve into a bloody quagmire.
Putin himself called for Ukrainian troops to seize power in the country to negotiate a surrender a day after ordering the invasion, according to Reuters.