An intercepted phone call between a Russian soldier and his wife has shed some light on the huge losses suffered by the Wagner mercenary group during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
In the call, published on Sunday by Ukrainian military intelligence, the unidentified couple discusses a recruitment leaflet she received in the post that had been distributed “in every mailbox” where she lives.
“And what are they promising?” the husband asks.
The wife replies: “The best training with qualified instructors, health and life insurance, and a guarantee of all payments.
“We have modern special clothing, the best equipment, and weapons.”
The husband then says he is “a bit freaked out” to know the leaflets are being distributed and claims Wagner is having to widen its search for new recruits as there aren’t enough suitable recruits left in Russia’s prisons and penal colonies.
He then adds: “My acquaintance, who is now at Wagner, he’s a driver, and he makes more than 15 trips a day – KAMAZ truck is completely filled with corpses.”
A KAMAZ truck is a large, four-, sometimes six-wheeled Russian military truck.
It’s not known when the call was recorded, but Wagner’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has said that his group lost 20,000 men in the battle for Bakhmut.
In its daily assessment on Monday, the British Ministry of Defense said the number of troops killed on both sides had surged since Ukraine launched summer offensive operations this month.
"Both sides are suffering heavy losses, with Russian casualties probably the highest since the peak of the Battle of Bakhmut in March," the intelligence concluded.
The Ukrainian Defense Forces claim that 220,450 Russian troops have been killed since the start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion.
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