As Russia openly announced its plan to seize more Ukrainian land on Wednesday, a Russian soldier was caught spilling to relatives back home that Vladimir Putin’s troops are “losing,” according to Ukrainian intelligence.
Audio shared by Ukraine’s Security Service is said to capture an intercepted phone call between a soldier based in the Kharkiv region and a female relative outside Moscow. It was not immediately clear when the conversation took place, but the unnamed man’s complaints appear to echo those heard repeatedly from Russian troops throughout nearly five months of the war.
“We’re losing now,” the purported soldier says, prompting an indignant response from his female relative, who replies, “Well it’s you guys who are losing there, but they are winning everywhere [else].”
“That’s the picture they paint for you on television, but in reality it’s drastically different here,” he says. “They will never show you this on television, they will never tell you the truth. We’re losing.”
Taken aback by the confession, the woman asks him to explain how Russian troops could be losing—and there seems to be no shortage of answers.
“We should have about 90 tanks left, and you know how many we have left?” We have probably 14 tanks left,” the man says.
“You don’t have artillery?”
“We do, but it’s so curved you can measure it [target] misses in kilometers,” he says, adding that “Everything’s sad.”
Even as his admission surfaced, Ukrainian authorities said Russian troops continue to bomb residential areas—a tactic they say is out of rage at so many military setbacks.
In the latest attack Wednesday, authorities said at least three people were killed when strikes hit a bus stop in Saltivka, in the Kharkiv region. A young boy was reported among the dead.