Ukraine War: Russian Comms Update (Day 118)

As the Ukraine War grinds on in its fourth month, there are no indications that the end is in sight as both sides slog it out in artillery duels, close urban combat, and trench warfare. The Ukraine Ministry of Defense reports that to date they have killed an estimated 34,100 Russians in combat, downed 216 fixed wing aircraft, 181 helicopters, 611 tactical drones, and captured or destroyed 1,496 tanks, 3,606 armored vehicles, and 2,537 supply vehicles. Ukraine State Security Service continues to intercept Russian communications and post excerpts on its YouTube channel. If the intercepts are accurate, the situation for Russian federation forces on the front line is anything but ideal. Among other things, Putin’s troops complain of poor rations, living under constant artillery bombardment, and refusal to follow orders. The audio also confirms that Russians continue to commit war crimes in eastern occupied territories. Following are excerpts of Russian comms from the last few weeks.

May 30, 2022 – Mexican Standoff on the Eastern Front

Donetsk Region – In a conversation with his wife, the transcript of which is available in the video below, a Russian contract soldier tells his wife that his artillery battery refused orders to move to the front because only one third of the men are left. The rest were killed or wounded. In response to the rebellion, Russian General Valeriy Solodchuk arrived at the unit’s location along with his personal security team and threatened to personally shoot soldiers who refused to follow orders. The Russian contract soldiers reportedly pointed their own weapons at the general and his entourage resulting in a “Mexican standoff.” Transcript is included in the video below.

May 31, 2022 – Russian Mercenaries Bite the Dust

Donbas Region – A Russian soldier tells his wife about a large group of “PMC fighters” (private military contractors trained by Russian Spetsnaz) that were recently annihilated in his area. Transcript is included in video.

June 4, 2022 – “Raze the Village to the Ground”

Donbas Region – Yet another manifestation of complete Russian indifference to Ukrainian civilian casualties. In this call a Russian soldier talks about how his brigade commander ordered troops to fall back and “raze” a village to the ground with artillery fire. This, after fighting unsuccessfully for two days to occupy the town. “They’re still burning the corpses in this village, Ukrainian military, civilians, everyone.” Transcript of audio included in video below.

June 8, 2022 – Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

Kherson Region – “Talking is for later.” Russian soldiers discuss shooting civilians, or anyone they deem suspicious without asking any questions on orders of their commanding officer, a major. Transcript is included in video below.

June 12, 2022 – Russians Clear Mines “In a Natural Way”

Basan, Ukraine – One of the darkest intercepts of the war so far that harkens back to Stalin era treatment of undesirables. This is a conversation between two Russian FSB officers, one of whom uses the call sign “Caspian,” regarding the use of Ukrainian prisoners to “demine” Mariupol “in a natural way.” The discuss details of a plan to use local civilians and Ukrainian POWs as forced labor and send them into areas of the city that are mined. Prisoners will sleep at night in trenches that they dig. Full transcript of the audio included in the video below.

June 13, 2022 – “The Car Will Become a Colander”

Eastern Ukraine – In this call a young Russian soldier tells his mother that a civilian car is approaching his unit on the highway. He says that 30 mm. gunners in his unit will soon open fire on the vehicle and it will “become a colander.” Mother expresses shock and surprise that they might shoot civilians. Her son tells her that they have orders to shoot anything that comes near them. He goes on to tell his mother that their artillery is firing phosphorus shells at civilian areas (a violation of the Geneva Convention). Transcript is included in video below.

June 17, 2022 – “The Meat is Tough”

Eastern Ukraine – A Russian soldier complains about rations to his wife. They are only getting canned veggies that he says are more fit for pigs’ slop than eating. He says he and his comrades killed and ate a dog because they were craving meat. The woman is grossed out by this and says she feels like vomiting. They go on to speculate that Russian officers are stealing the men’s rations and selling them on the side for profit. Transcript is included in the video below.

June 17, 2022 – Going Crazy

Kherson Region – In this call a Russian soldier talks with what sounds like an older man, maybe his father. He describes how front-line troops are living in trenches under constant artillery shelling and night attacks. The men, he says, are “going crazy” and “run like hares” whenever they hear incoming fire. He also says they distrust the Ukrainian people, whom they assume are acting as forward artillery observers. The Ukrainians are so entrenched that it is impossible to dislodge them from their well-prepared defensive positions. Transcript of the call is included in the video below.

June 17, 2022 – We’re Just “Meat”

Eastern Ukraine – In a phone call with his wife, a Russian militia member conscripted in the LPR, tells his wife that commanding officers in his unit refuse to fight. “Our command has left. Well they didn’t leave. They just threw down their weapons. They say, ‘We will not go to war.’ They will be changed. If they aren’t changed, they will send us home.” The man tells his wife. The woman is pleased with the prospect that her husband will may come home but tells him not to leave on his own because he will be punished for desertion. However, as the man was enlisted in the occupied territory of Luhansk, he tells his wife there is no record of them in Russia. “I will come home… They never listed us anywhere. Believe me, we’re not listed anywhere, nowhere… As Commander Ushakov said, we’re just ‘meat’ for a distracting maneuver here. There is not list of us anywhere not even in Russia.” The video below is in Russian only, no English transcript.

Russian soldiers and commanders flee from the war.

June 19, 2022 – Permission to Pilage

Eastern Ukraine – In this call a man tells his wife that there is a lot of looting going on in the village where his unit located. Soldiers steal televisions, washing machines, barbeque grills, anything they want. Among other things, he tells the woman “…in short it is not criminally punishable if we loot. This is permitted, Putin allowed it. There was a decree that said looting is allowed…” The man goes on to explain that he is looking for military equipment and uniform items because they are of better quality. He describes using a Ukrainian military beret that was made in the Czech Republic. The video below is in Russian only, no English transcript.

Putin gave his soldiers permission to loot.