Russian troops argue over orders to bomb civilian areas in Ukraine
Russian soldiers taking part in the invasion of Ukraine are in ‘complete disarray, according to voice recordings obtained by a British intelligence company.
The intercepted radio messages indicate that troops are refusing to obey central command orders to shell Ukrainian towns and are complaining about running out of supplies of food and fuel.
The recordings are among around 24 hours of material obtained by intelligence firm ShadowBreak since the invasion of Ukraine began last week.
In one of the eavesdropped conversations, listened to by The Telegraph, a soldier reportedly sounded as though he was crying.
In another, a soldier was heard losing his temper when asking when food or fuel would arrive.
He said: “We’ve been here for three days! When the hell is it going to be ready?”
Two Russian troops – believed to be Rafik Rakhmankulov, 19 (left) and Mgomd Mgomdov, 26, from Kizilyurt (right) who were captured by Ukrainian forces in the country’s east.
A third message revealed a tense exchange in which the same soldier had to remind a colleague speaking from a command centre that they could not use artillery on an area until civilians – who were labelled ‘the goods’ – had left.
ShadowBreak’s founder Samuel Cardillo, 26, told The Telegraph he had been sent the messages by amateurs listening in with antennas.
He said: “What we have found is that the Russian operatives are operating in complete disarray.
“They have no clue where they are going and how to really communicate with each other properly.”
He added: “There were periods where we heard them (Russian soldiers) crying in combat, a period where they were insulting each other – obviously not a sign of great morale.’
Cardillo said that some of the messages were also ‘proof of war crimes’ because they revealed order to fire missiles into urban areas.
Other video recordings are said to show Russian soldiers retreating back into Russia after becoming frustrated, whilst a text message sent by a soldier to his mother is alleged to have said: “The only thing I want right now is to kill myself.”
In a further sign that morale may be poor, a senior U.S. defence official told the New York Times on Tuesday that some troops have “deliberately punched holes” in their vehicles’ petrol tanks in the hope of avoiding combat.
Parts of the Russian military are also still using analogue ‘walkie-talkie’ two-way radios, making them more vulnerable to interception.
Ukrainian forces are also said to have had no problem jamming Russian communications and interrupting them with the sound of their national anthem.