Call intercepts reveal Putin’s army thinks the invasion is a mess

Source: Hot Air

The NY Times published this report today. The call intercepts in question aren’t recent but come from back in March.

The New York Times has exclusively obtained recordings of thousands of calls that were made throughout March and intercepted by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies from this pivotal location.

Reporters verified the authenticity of these calls by cross-referencing the Russian phone numbers with messaging apps and social media profiles to identify soldiers and family members. The Times spent almost two months translating the recordings, which have been edited for clarity and length.

Still, the content of the calls reveals how quickly the Russian offensive fell apart. It was a mess before the invasion even started. A soldier named Sergey told his mother, “No one told us we were going to war. They told us the day before we left.” Another soldier told his partner, “I didn’t know this was going to happen. They said we were going for training. These bastards didn’t tell us anything.”

The soldier’s take on the attempt to seize Kyiv was just as blunt. “We can’t take Kyiv.…We just take villages, and that’s it,” one solider said. Another said, “They just want to fool people on TV, like, ‘Everything is all right; there’s no war, just a special operation.’ But in reality, it’s an actual f**king war.”

Others complained about the equipment they had to fight with: “Everything here is ancient. It’s not modern like they show on Zvezda [state TV].” And as the weeks dragged on, they also complained about severe losses. “There were 400 paratroopers. And only 38 of them survived.…Because our commanders sent soldiers to the slaughter.”

The intercepts also include descriptions of incidents that would constitute war crimes. Speaking of a group of civilians, Sergey told his girlfriend, “We detained them, undressed them and checked all their clothes. Then a decision had to be made whether to let them go. If we let them go, they could give away our position….So it was decided to shoot them in the forest.”

“Did you shoot them?” his girlfriend asked.

“Of course we shot them,” Sergey replied.

“Why didn’t you take them as prisoners?” she said.

“We would have had to feed them, and we don’t have enough food ourselves, you see,” he said.

Did it really happen? The evidence suggests it did.

When Russian forces retreated at the end of March, Ukrainian officials discovered over 1,100 bodies in the Bucha region, on streets and in gardens, stashed in wells and cellars, and buried in makeshift graves. Some were charred or had their hands bound. Some 617 of those people died as a result of gunshot wounds, Andriy Nebytov, Kyiv’s regional police chief, told The Times.

According to another intercept, Russian soldiers are stealing everything they can get their hands on. “TVs, f**king meat mincers, screwdrivers and some f**king suitcases,” are being stolen. One soldier tells his girlfriend to start looking for an apartment because he stole millions of rubles from a safe.

There’s a lot more in the story and you can hear the actual calls as well as read the translations. Based on these intercepts I’m surprised the Russians have held out as long as they have.