From the very onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there has been a sinking feeling that the Kremlin’s troops just aren’t up for it.
Perhaps the first inkling of trouble came to us from captured Russia soldiers themselves, who insisted that they were duped by their commanders into the war from the very start. Then began a series of mass desertions, no-work surrenders, and even reports of Russians shooting themselves in the leg in order to get sent back home.
The latest evidence of abject cowardice is perhaps one of the strangest yet.
After more than 100 days of Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, Russian troops have now been caught trying to arrange sham marriages to get out of the war, while others say they haven’t even been sent water to survive as the temperatures rise.
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.”
“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.
There is no desperation in true romance, of course, and there appears to be no fortitude in the Russian ranks either.