Russian Soldiers Sabotage Their Own Equipment In Blow To Putin

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Newly released recordings of conversations intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence involving Russian soldiers reveal these troops on Putin’s side discussing sabotaging their own war efforts. On one call, intercepted by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), a Russian soldier “allegedly said they’ve been pouring sand into the tanks’ fuel systems to clog them up,” The Daily Beast summarizes. “I don’t follow stupid orders, I simply refuse… The motherfucker sent me to tanks, motherfucking piece of shit. I fucked it up and that’s it,” a soldier said.

A soldier speaking with the first individual apparently suggested he’d be inclined to potentially take the same approach — sabotaging tanks — in his own unit within Russia’s military presence in Ukraine. On another call, a Russian soldier told a member of his family that he and fellow Russian military personnel had intentionally damaged their regiment’s last tank to avoid certain plans. “We have one tank left in the regiment… In short, we broke our tank ourselves in the morning so as not to go,” he said. These aren’t the first indications of morale problems among Russian troops in Ukraine, who’ve reportedly sustained heavy losses imposed by Ukraine’s defenders. A Saturday update from Ukrainian forces claimed Russia already lost some 25,100 individual troops amid fighting in Ukraine.

A NATO military official said over a month ago that Russia already lost somewhere from 7,000 to 15,000 individual troops — and again, those estimates emerged more than a month into the past, so should similar paces of losses for the Russian military have continued, then totals could have been expected to dramatically increase. Ukrainians have also recently pushed Russian troops out of settlements in the Kharkiv region, seemingly greatly alleviating the threat that Kharkiv itself — Ukraine’s second-largest city — has been under throughout the war. “Ukraine’s General Staff says Ukraine has recaptured the village of Tsyrkuny to the north-east of Kharkiv, denying invading Russian troops their last artillery position close to the city,” journalist Euan MacDonald noted on Saturday.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the women, children, and elderly people who were among those trapped at the remains of the large Azovstal steel plant in the long-targeted Ukrainian city of Mariupol have all been evacuated from the plant premises, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. Ukrainian service members evidently remain at the plant, which ended up as one of the last local sites for confrontation between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Across Mariupol, tens of thousands have already died, and so-called filtration camps where civilians are interrogated for connections to interests such as the Ukrainian government and face threats of torture and execution are in operation in the area. Russian forces are continuing to expand their aggression elsewhere, too — “russia is not just destroying #Popasna, it is wiping it off the map. In their military actions russians adhere to the tactics of completely destroying everything on their way. Residential buildings in Popasna were bombed with 3 ton bombs,” Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs adviser Anton Gerashchenko remarked on Twitter this Saturday.