According to the New York Times, Russian soldiers violated the ban on phoning from the front. Initially, the Russian army confiscated soldiers' mobile phones, but there seem to be more than enough soldiers calling home anyway. Ukraine listened to thousands of calls and made the recordings from March - the first month of the war - available to the "New York Times". The phone calls give an unvarnished insight into the Russian army.
The phone calls confirm the reports that many soldiers didn't even know what kind of mission they were on. "Nobody told us that we were going to war," said a soldier named Sergei to his mother. "They warned us the day before." A "Nikita" tells a friend, "We should all go to training for two or three days. They screwed us like little kids."
Even when they criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin and the military leadership, the soldiers – according to the newspaper primarily members of the Air Force and the National Guard – do not hold back on the phone. "Mom, I think this war is the stupidest decision our government has ever made," says a "Sergey" of his mother. "Putin is an idiot. He wants to take Kyiv. We have no chance of doing that," says "Aleksandr." "We can't take Kyiv. We're taking villages. And that's it." A "Sergej" says to his mother: "Of 400 paratroopers only 38 survived. Because our commanders send soldiers to the slaughterhouse."
"Sergej" reports to his girlfriend: "They just want to fool people on TV: 'It's all right, there is no war, only a special operation.' But the truth is, it's a real fucking war."
The soldiers at the front also complain about the equipment and military mistakes. "Our own artillery fired at us. They thought we were bloody Ukrainians. We thought we were done for," says a "Nikita" of his girlfriend. "Some boys have taken their bulletproof vests from Ukrainian soldiers and wear them themselves. Their NATO protective equipment is simply better than ours," says "Sergej" of his girlfriend. One "Roman" complains: "All our equipment is old-fashioned. Not as modern as they show it on state television."
"Sergej" confesses to his girlfriend a war crime: the shooting of civilians. Apparently they had come too close to the Russian position. "We captured them, stripped them and searched 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. " His girlfriend asks: "Did you shoot her?" Sergei replies: "Of course we shot them." When asked why they didn't keep them captives, he replies, "We should have fed them and we don't even have enough food for ourselves."
The newspaper says it verified the authenticity of the calls by matching Russian phone numbers with messaging apps and social media profiles to identify soldiers and family members. The star could not verify the phone calls independently of the newspaper.
Source:"New York Times" (Paid Content)