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Russia’s top military chiefs have been left red-faced after a series of intercepted calls across the front exposed the dire conditions Vladimir Putin’s men have been left to grapple with.
Ukraine’s Intelligence Services shared details of 17 calls between military personnel engaged on the front and their families discussing the impact of heavy losses and the lack of essential supplies.
The timeline of the calls matched the ongoing counteroffensive Kyiv has been pursuing in recent months in renewed efforts to reclaim occupied land across eastern Ukraine.
One soldier, identified as Andrey, told his wife on July 12: “They are f***ing us up. No f***ing ammunition, nothing. Shall we use our fingers as bayonets?
“We’re like beggars. It’s like 1941 with one rifle between five soldiers. Nothing’s changed.”
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Another soldier, Maxim, shared a scathing review of his battalion commander – claiming they had been reduced to “crumbs” because of poorly planned attacks against Kyiv’s forces.
Speaking to his wife on July 3, he said: “That’s it. There is no second battalion left. They f***ing turned it into crumbs.”
One soldier lamented how they were unable to recover the remains of soldiers killed in action, noting the survivors had been left with inadequate equipment.
The man, identified as Alexei, told his mother: “They were torn apart. They’re lying there: they can’t even collect some of them. They’re already rotten – eaten by worms.”
The stunned woman asked, “really?”, prompting her son to go on: “Just imagine, thrown on the front line with no equipment, nothing.”
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The intercepted calls are the latest testimony from Russian soldiers complaining about the unsuitable equipment and training they have received.
Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in early June but only recently started to make its first significant gains.
The speed of the advance cost Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov his job this week, only days before Kyiv’s military punched through Moscow’s first line of defence in Southern Ukraine.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that the Zaporizhzhia region of southeast Ukraine has become the most recent hot spot for battles in the 18-month war.
Shoigu told Russian military officers that Ukraine has brought up reserve brigades there that were trained by Kyiv’s Western allies.
He offered no evidence for his claim, which could not be independently verified. Fighting in the southeast could be one of the keys to the war.
If Russian defences there collapse, Ukrainian forces could push southward toward the coast and potentially split Russian forces into two.
The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank, citing geolocated footage, said Tuesday that Ukrainian light infantry has advanced beyond some of the anti-tank ditches and dense minefields that make up Russia’s layered defences in Zaporizhzhia.
However, it said it was unable to state that the defence was fully breached because no Ukrainian heavy armour had been witnessed in the area.
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