We’re more than three months into the Russian invasion of Ukraine at this point, and tales of desertion and abandonment have run rampant through the Kremlin’s ranks.
Things have gotten so desperate, in fact, that there have been reports of Kremlin soldiers scavenging Ukrainian ammunition in order to shoot themselves in their legs so that they could be sent home. (If they had been caught using their own ammunition, it could mean a one-way ticket to a Siberian labor camp).
The desire to leave is so great now that soldiers are asking female friends back home to arrange for fake marriages.
Ukraine’s Security Service on Tuesday released what it said was an intercepted phone call between a Russian soldier and his friend.
The man identified as a soldier can be heard reporting that a mutual acquaintance who’d tried to abandon the fight was not allowed to, and that the only way out now is to “either be wounded or killed or [for] an official withdrawal.”
The not-so-romantic Russian couldn’t find a suitor, however.
But, he says, he tried unsuccessfully to find a new way out.
“I already f***ing told one of my [female] friends, ‘F***, go submit an application to [the marriage registration office].’ I’ll f***ing tell them about it here. S***, they said, no f***ing way, that’s not an option.”
“Everyone here is trying any possible way [to get out] … but there’s no way,” he said.
Morale has been abysmal among the Russians, many of whom were likely under the impression that this war would last days or weeks at most, and who’ve now been facing an intensely fierce resistance from hardcore Ukrainian troops for months.