Mutinous Russian soldiers were stripped, tied up and taken away in trucks under the orders of a feared Russian general who has been sent in to restore discipline in Ukraine, according to a recording released by Kyiv’s intelligence services.
Meanwhile, another audio clip was released in which a Russian soldier was overheard calling Vladimir Putin an ‘old nutjob’ and criticising his war in Ukraine.
The intercepted audio recordings are the latest evidence that morale is deteriorating among Moscow’s forces as its faltering invasion of Ukraine entered its 12th week.
Both recordings were shared by Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate on social media on Thursday, according to the Daily Beast.
In the first intercepted phone call, a Russian soldier is heard telling a friend that the Kremlin has sent in a general, named only in the discussion as ‘Muradov’.
While the general’s full name is not revealed in the discussion, it is likely the soldier is referring to lieutenant general Rustam Muradov – the deputy commander of Russia’s Southern Military District, known for overseeing brutal fighting in the Syrian civil war.
‘Well, Muradov arrived and arranged a demonstrative tribunal,’ the soldier said, adding that he disciplined his unit because ‘no one wanted to keep going ahead’.
‘The commanders didn’t want to lead their boys to death, the soldier said. ‘The guys themselves just weren’t ready.
‘So yesterday [Muradov] busted the f**k out of the commanders to make an example, he undressed them, made them pull everything out of their pockets, tied their hands. Then they loaded them into [buses] and took them away,’ he added.
It was not reported by the Ukrainian authorities where the Russian soldier was when he made the phone call with his friend, but it’s yet another example of Putin’s troops showing signs of low morale amid reports of dwindling equipment and supplies.
Muradov is one of a number of Russian military figures sanctioned by the EU. He was awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation in 2017, with the award being presented to him personally by Putin himself.
Pictured: Russian lieutenant general Rustam Muradov, who a Russian soldier – heard in an intercepted phone call – said has been brought in to deal with discipline in his unit
Muradov is one of a number of Russian military figures sanctioned by the EU. He was awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation in 2017, with the award being presented to him personally by Putin himself
Mutinous Russian soldiers were stripped, tied up and taken away in trucks under the orders of a feared Russian general who has been sent in to restore discipline in Ukraine, according to a recording released by Kyiv’s intelligence services. Pictured: A Russian soldier is seen in Mariupol in March, as local residents queue for humanitarian aid
In a second recording, another man – also identified only as a Russian soldier – can be heard airing his frustrations over the situation in Ukraine to a female friend.
His main grievance appears to be Putin’s Victory Day speech on May 9, which saw the Russian tyrant speak at a huge annual military parade to mark the end of Russia’s involvement in the Second World War 77 years ago.
The female friend tells the soldier that she thought Putin’s speech was ‘gross’, adding that she had been ‘shaking all day’ after listening to it.
The Russian soldier replies: ‘Well what do you want, he’s an old nutjob,’ before mocking Putin. ‘Yes let’s get the USSR, f**k, Lithuania, Latvia, f**king Estonia, everything that’s not part of Russia let’s win back.’
While discussing what hypothetical territories Putin would try to invade after Ukraine, they mentioned Belarus.
The female friend said she believed Belarus would soon send its own troops into Ukraine, to which the soldier shot back: ‘let them f**king join already then, what the f**k are we taking the rap all alone here for.’
The friend then suggested Putin might not want to share his ‘victory’ over Ukraine with another country. The soldier said: ‘right, ‘victory,’ as if we didn’t f**k up enough around here already.’
A tank of the DPR army moves on the road during several dozen Ukrainian civilians, who had been living in the bomb shelters of the Azovstal plant for more than a month, being evacuated in Mariupol, Ukraine on May 06, 2022
The Russian President used his speech to claim that Russian troops in eastern Ukraine were ‘defending the motherland’. He also said that the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine was necessary and was provoked by the West.
Putin has long bristled at NATO’s creep eastward into former Soviet republics. Ukraine and its Western allies have denied the country posed any threat, saying that Putin’s invasion was unprovoked.
The Russian strongman has also claimed his forces are there to ‘de-nazify’ Ukraine – despite Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky being Jewish and the far-right enjoying little support in the country.
Analysts believe Russian troops were expecting to be welcomed with open arms as they entered the country, but have instead been met with heavy resistance.
It has been widely reported that Putin was expecting his forces to rapidly advance across Ukraine and overthrow the country’s elected government within days.
Instead, his forces have been drawn into a protracted conflict – which is showing no signs of abating. Ukraine is being supplied by its Western allies, and intelligence updates have suggested Moscow’s armies are running low on equipment.
Kyiv says that more than 25,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the Russian president ordered his troops into Ukraine on February 24. The Kremlin has only acknowledged around 1,300 deaths.
Ukrainian forensics experts examine the body of a Russian soldier exhumed in the village of Zavalivka, west of Kyiv, in a refrigerated rail car stacked with the Russian dead on May 11, 2022
Another audio clip was released on Thursday in which a Russian soldier was overheard Vladimir Putin an ‘old nutjob’ and criticising his war in Ukraine. Pictured: Putin attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after the military parade marking the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 9, 2022
Kyiv’s security services have often released audio recordings they have intercepted of Russian soldiers calling friends and family back home, often to demonstrate the growing unhappiness among Putin’s troops or admissions of guilt.
One recording, released last month, captured a Russian man asking his partner back at home for permission to rape Ukrainian women during the invasion.
Release of the latest audio recordings came after Russia suffered a double battlefield humiliation when Ukraine successfully thwarted its attempt to cross a river in Donbas, destroying dozens of vehicles and inflicting heavy casualties.
In an attempt to then rescue men and vehicles that had got stranded on the wrong side of the Donets River, near Biolhorivka – after the first attempt on May 8 – Russian forces launched a second effort to cross the river. The results were much the same.
It appears Russian commanders were attempting to surround Lysychansk – and its sister city of Severodonetsk – with the crossing, but saw their sneak-attack turn into a massacre when Ukraine correctly guessed their plans.
The attempt ended with Russian pontoon bridges being sunk by an artillery barrage that destroyed dozens of vehicles and may have killed more than 1,000 troops.
Satellite images laid bare the scale of the failure with the remains of two pontoon bridges drifting in the Donets River at Bilohorivka, west of the city of Lysychansk, surrounded by the ruins of tanks and armoured vehicles.
Russian forces then made another failed attempt to cross the river – losing more men to another barrage in the process, with survivors forced to swim to safety.
Russia attempted to bridge the Donets River to the west of the city of Lysychansk on May 8, apparently hoping to surround Ukrainian defenders dug in there – but were found out and massacred
The remains of at least three Russian tanks and another four armoured infantry vehicles are seen on one bank of the river, along with other pieces of wreckage poking out from under the water
Newly-released images of the ambush show dozens of destroyed Russian vehicle littering both banks of the river along with sections of pontoon bridge left floating in the water
It is just the latest humiliation for Putin’s army – once ranked second in the world – after commanders failed to capture the capital Kyiv, were beaten back from Mykolaiv by a rag-tag band of territorial defence troops and civilians, and got their Black Sea flagship Moskva sunk by Ukrainian missiles.
Commanders are now trying to seize control of the Donbas region – cynically claiming that was their true objective all along – but have so-far failed to make any significant breakthrough in almost a month of fighting, with Kyiv claiming Russia has suffered ‘colossal’ losses.
The humiliation came after Russia’s top commander General Valery Gerasimov was suspended, a top adviser to the Ukrainian president claimed on Wednesday. A clutch of other officers have also been sacked or arrested amid a rumoured purge of top brass by the Kremlin.
Oleksiy Arestovych, a veteran of military intelligence and one of President Zelensky’s inner circle, claimed late Wednesday that Gerasimov – the chief of staff of the Russian army – has been suspended as Putin looks for senior commanders to blame over his blundering invasion of Ukraine.
Arestovych, speaking to dissident Russian lawyer and politician Mark Feygin on YouTube last night, said: ‘According to preliminary information, Gerasimov has been de-facto suspended. They are deciding whether to give him time to fix things, or not.’
He added: ‘The commander of the first tank army of the western military district Lieutenant General Sergei Kisel has also been arrested and fired after the first tank army was defeated near Kharkiv.’
Two further army commanders have been fired due to heavy battlefield losses, according to information released on a Telegram channel run by the Ukrainian interior ministry, which also claimed the commander of the Black Sea fleet has been sacked and arrested and his vice admiral has been placed under investigation.
Arestovych stressed that his information is ‘preliminary’, but it comes after Gerasimov failed to appear during Russia’s Victory Day parade in Moscow on Monday which he was widely expected to attend.
It also comes after he was reportedly wounded by shrapnel in Ukraine when Putin sent him there in order to turn the war around.