Ukrainian military intelligence recently published audio of an alleged intercepted phone call in which a Russian soldier described an entire unit from his country’s armed forces being “slaughtered” by Ukraine’s military.
The soldier suggested that the unit was killed after they had become “way too relaxed” and drunk.
Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate (GUR) posted the audio—which could not be independently verified by Newsweek—to its Telegram channel on August 31. GUR frequently posts audio of what it says are intercepted communications related to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, and the calls often paint Russia’s forces in a negative light.
The audio posted last week was between a Russian soldier fighting in Ukraine and a female in Russia. The soldier told the woman, who the Kyiv Post speculated was his wife or girlfriend, that the ground formation taken out by Ukrainian forces was the 27th Brigade. The unit had been positioned near the northeastern town of Svatove.
During the call, the soldier asked the female speaker if she had heard about what happened to the 27th Brigade.
When she replied that she hadn’t heard about the unit, the troop said, according to a translation by the Kyiv Post: “The problem is, they were cut the f*** up.”
“You mean all of them?” the woman asked.
“Yes, all our guys were slaughtered,” the soldier said.
The Kyiv Post wrote the soldier then speculated that the members of the unit had likely become “way too relaxed” in their position perhaps because they believed they would soon be taken off the frontlines of the war.
“Yes, they knew that they would be withdrawn soon, so they just had to be patient,” the soldier said. “But no…They must have gotten drunk.”
GUR did not indicate when the alleged intercepted phone call took place, but Putin’s military has recently strengthened efforts to regain territories in the northeast region of Ukraine.
In early August, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said its forces had made successful advances in northeast Ukraine. The Kyiv Post noted, “Fighting in the Svatove area has been fierce for a number of weeks as Russian forces make a push towards the town of Kupyansk.”
Analysts have speculated that Putin’s military may be using fighting in northeast Ukraine as a tactic to draw resources away from Kyiv’s counteroffensive operations in the southern parts of the country, as well as an attempt to recapture the city of Kupyansk.
Kupyansk is a rail hub, and Russia had used it as a logistics and supply site after seizing control of the city during the early stages of the war launched on February 24, 2022. However, Kyiv recaptured control of Kupyansk in September in one of its first major counteroffensives.