Stunning Russian radio messages reportedly intercepted by a “British intelligence company” contain audio footage of Russian frontline soldiers “complaining bitterly” about the conditions they face and refusing to obey orders calling for the indiscriminate killing of civilians.
The footage points to there being a great disconnect between Russian frontline soldiers and the senior officers directing their actions.
In one recording, an officer speaking from a command center orders the soldiers on the field to assault a Ukrainian town “with artillery fire,” as reported on Tuesday by The Telegraph.
But stunningly, a field soldier pushes back “and reminds the more senior officer that civilians – or ‘the goods’ – have to be removed from the town before the army can open fire.” The reportedly “annoyed” command center officer then hesitantly “accepts that civilians need to leave first.”
In another recording, an exasperated Russian soldier reportedly loses his temper over the lack of supplies and fuel, shouting, “We’ve been here for three days! When the hell is it going to be ready?”
In an especially telling third recording, a Russian soldier reportedly sounds like he’s in tears.
“In a third audio recording, a soldier who sounds to be in tears pleads with command. ‘It’s slow, it’s slow…’ are the only words that are audible from the ground. In response, only the command ‘quickly’ can be heard through the static,” according to The Telegraph.
This footage was reportedly captured by an independent intelligence firm that goes by the name ShadowBreak Intl. The firm’s website states it’s located in London and focused on “democratising geospatial intelligence by disrupting the acquisition, analysis and distribution of spatial data for military, commercial and individual users.”
In a Twitter thread posted Tuesday, the firm said that, because of logistical failures, the Russian forces operating in Ukraine “are communicating without [a] digital mode, making them fully audible by everyone.”
This has allowed the firm and its associates to literally eavesdrop on the conversations being had by the Russian forces in Ukraine:
For the 1st time in a modern conflict, the regular forces of Russia are communicating without digital mode, making them fully audible by everyone.
— ShadowBreak Intl. (@sbreakintl) March 1, 2022
Following the lack of security on their communications, we have been closely cooperating with radio amateurs & translators, across the globe, to document and gather intelligence.
— ShadowBreak Intl. (@sbreakintl) March 1, 2022
This shortcoming has reportedly also allowed the Ukrainians to jam the Russians’ audio communications with recordings of the Ukrainian national anthem.
According to ShadowBreak founder Samuel Cardillo, the footage his team has collected points to the Russian soldiers being completely out of their depth.
“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 told The Telegraph.
Things are reportedly so bad that the soldiers often have to spend up to 20 minutes performing a “sound check,” he added.
Cardillo revealed that his team captured the footage by simply pulling out antennas and listening in to the Russians’ communications.
“It’s basically like tapping into a police frequency in the US. It’s basically the Russians transmitting on analogue. So when they request air support, or any kind of support, you will hear the helicopter or the fighter planes,” he said.
“Through the hours of recordings we have over multiple frequencies, you will be able to hear fighter jets, helicopters, tanks, artillery, heavy ballistic missiles talking analogue because not all the units have digital communication methods. It’s such a huge vulnerability coming from Russia in such an operation. It’s insane.”
He added that if his civilian crew has access to this audio, then so does the Ukrainian military and NATO planes.
“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,” he continued.
“There was an instance where they shot at each other, there was an instance where they had to transport dead bodies back to their forward operating bases. Many times you can hear them not at their highest level of happiness.”
The footage his crew has obtained comes amid a flurry of additional evidence that the Russian troops who’ve been dispatched to Ukraine are grossly unhappy and unprepared.
“Ukrainian officials released myriad videos in recent days, showing captive Russian troops claiming they had no idea they would be sent into Ukraine,” according to The Telegraph.
“Other videos showed troops apparently deserting. In one clip, a group of about a dozen Russian troops, with their backpacks and rifles, were seen walking away from a small village in the Sumska region that borders Russia in a video shot on Tuesday.”
In addition, speaking before the U.N. on Monday, Ukrainian diplomat Serhiy Kyslytsia reportedly showed text messages that were shared with her by a mother whose son is among the Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.
“We were told we would be greeted with open arms, but they call us fascists. … The only thing I want right now is to kill myself. Mum, I’m in Ukraine. This is a real war. I’m scared, we’re firing at everyone, even civilians,” the text messages read.
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