As Russian President Vladimir Putin directs hundreds of thousands of more troops to the front lines a new report Tuesday showed that morale in Moscow’s ranks remains low.
In a series of phone calls obtained by the New York Times soldiers detailed atrocities, theft and an overall feeling of contempt for Russia’s top brass, including President Vladimir Putin.
“Putin is a fool. He wants us to take Kyiv. But there’s no way we can do,” one soldier made in a call intercepted by Ukrainian authorities and verified by the Times.
The call was apparently recorded during the early days of the war before Putin failed to take the capital city and regroup his troops to focus on eastern Ukraine.
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Dozens of calls were recorded and shared where soldiers discussed largely with their mothers, wives and girlfriends an intense desire to quit the Russian military.
“They gave us the order to kill everyone we see,” one man named Sergey reportedly told his girlfriend. “Kill any civilian that walks by and drag them into the forest. I’ve already become a murderer”.
“I don’t want to kill any more people, especially the ones I will have to look in the eyes,” he added.
Reports of gross human rights abuses including torture chambers, mass graves and civilian executions have surfaced since the war began seven months ago.
While many of the calls appeared to show remorse and a feeling of entrapment, others detailed the things they had stolen, in some cases for survival including food and medical supplies, while others collected “trophies” and stole televisions to bring home with them.
Others discussed the complete breakdown of communication and leadership that has led to an immense number of Russian deaths.
In one conversation a soldier named Yevgeniy told his partner, “No one is left from my Kostroma regiment.”
“There were 400 paratroopers. And only 38 of them survived,” another named Sergey told his mother. “Our commanders sent soldiers to the slaughter.”
It is unclear exactly how many Russian soldiers have been killed in the fighting since the war began, though according to the Ukrainian defense ministry over 60,000 Russian soldiers have died.
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In its most recent sweeping advancement across Kharkiv, Yuriy Sak, adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister said the number of losses Russia saw surprised even Kyiv as “9 to 10” Russian troops were killed for every one Ukrainian solider who fell.
Russia expert and former intelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency, Rebekah Koffler, told Fox News Digital that the lack of morale is likely entering all facets of Russian society.
“Russian forces are extremely demoralized. The Pentagon has assessed that 80,000 Russian troops are either hurt or killed already,” she explained. “Putin’s recent mobilization order has triggered [a] massive exodus of Russian males out of the country.
“We can expect the rest of the Russian society – military age men, mothers, wives – falling into despair as well as there’s no end in sight to this war,” she added.
Koffler explained that while Putin and his commanders likely understand that they have lost the conventional war, their thirst for dominance over Ukraine has not diminished.
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“Realizing Russia’s conventional inferiority, the Russian strategists had developed a special doctrine to stave off defeat on the battlefield and end the conflict,” she said. “Putin is likely re-calibrating his strategy now.”
The Russia expert said Putin will likely look to target critical infrastructure through “kinetic and non-kinetic means” like cyber-attacks to further “destabilize” Kyiv even as he continues to ship off boots to Ukraine.