A deeply distressed Russian soldier alleges that his commanding officers on the frontlines are getting drunk and then brutally beating their subordinates with sticks if they are found to have done the same thing.
In a phone conversation intercepted and disclosed by Ukraine’s Military Intelligence (HUR), the soldier initially describes the dire circumstances and significant casualties his unit is enduring while repelling Ukrainian assaults. He laments that out of 46 recent replacements, 20 have already perished.
“We’re now just a small group – there are four of us here, defending a 780-meter stretch of forest on the frontline,” he said according to the Kyiv Post. “We face contact five, six, or even seven times a day. They emerge and attack us immediately, and we respond in kind. Currently, there’s a temporary calm as they’ve likely paused to have tea or coffee. They’ll drink, and then they’ll resume the attacks.”
Clearly strained by the situation, the soldier reveals that when he lodged a complaint, his commanding officer presented him with two options: either undergo treatment at a rehabilitation center for alcoholics or be admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
The soldier takes particular issue with the notion of soldiers resorting to alcohol as a means of coping with stress. He confides in his friend, “They themselves drink. And if they find a soldier who smells of alcohol, they beat him with a stick, you know?”
These beatings can apparently be quite severe, as he adds: “We have one f**ked up commander.
These beatings evidently inflict serious harm, as he further reports, “He beat one guy so much he broke his ribs and gave him a concussion.”
He concludes bitterly, “They get all the honors and medals, and we just get beat up all the time.”
While the soldier’s account is our sole source of information regarding this incident, a recent video circulated on social media purportedly shows drone footage of Russian troops assaulting one another with a large stick.
Although these phone calls have not undergone independent verification, these allegations have emerged at a challenging time for Russia, as Ukraine’s counteroffensive continues to gain momentum, evident in the release of such intercepted conversations by Ukraine’s intelligence services.