Russia Ukraine: Both sides are getting tired says expert
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With help from Britain’s GCHQ, the phone calls were able to reveal the horror experiences of Russian troops fighting Putin’s war. Some calls recorded the soldiers telling their family members about horrific war crimes they have witnessed in combat.
Fed-up troops called the Russian leader “a fool” and confess to taking part in horrendous acts including gunning down unarmed civilians, the New York Times revealed.
Other intercepted calls, released by Ukraine’s SBU, include accounts of rape and torture and one incident of a Russian troop shooting a man off his bicycle.
One fighter, while speaking to his mother, told of a “sea of corpses” in a forest.
Meanwhile, others disclosed heavy losses of equipment and men experienced by the Russian army.
The intelligence shows that many Russians disobeyed orders not to use their phones and made unauthorised calls to their partners, families and friends.
One troop told his mum: “Our offence has stalled. We’re losing this war”.
An intercepted call also heard one fighter say: “We were given an order to kill everyone we see”.
While a third caller said: “Putin is a fool. He wants to take Kyiv but there’s no way he can do it.
Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, BND, also obtained calls made by Russian troops on the front line.
In one chilling phone call, a soldier called Max said: “I do what I want here, I kill everyone. I don’t care at all if it’s a civilian or non-civilian.”
The troops also revealed significant failings on the Russian side, with one confirming reports of low morale claiming his comrades are “crying and suicidal”.
One fighter told his mum: “There were 400 paratroopers and only 38 of them survived because our commanders sent soldiers to the slaughter.”,
Another, called Roman, spoke to his girlfriend about his commanders and declared: “Turns out, they don’t really know anything. They can only talk big in their uniforms.”
One soldier, named Sergey, told his girlfriend he was ordered to kill three men instead of holding them as prisoners because they didn’t have enough food to feed them, and barely enough to feed themselves.
In another call to his girlfriend, Sergey said: “I’ve already become a murderer. That’s why I don’t want to kill any more people, especially ones I will have to look in the eyes.”
The calls, obtained by the New York Times from the Bucha region Kyiv, also indicated that Russian troops had looted weapons and armour from Ukrainian corpses to wear themselves.
Reporters for the New York Times cross-checked the hacked phone numbers against Russian social media profiles and leaked Dark Web databases to identify the troops and their loved ones but withheld their full names to protect them from Kremlin reprisals.
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