A Russian soldier on the frontlines has described how contracted Kremlin troops have been given orders to wipe out the remains of his unit, with paperwork listing them as missing in action (MIA) already having been prepared.

 

In an intercepted phone call with his friend, the conscript claims he is trapped between Ukrainian forces on one side, and a second Russian line of defense with orders not to let anyone pass.

 

In the call, published by Ukraines Military Intelligence (HUR) on Aug. 1, the soldier says: “Basically, I ran away from our group. Just two of us left alive. The rest are dead. We were all replaced by contract soldiers, and everyone in our company is now listed as MIA.

 

“Wheres Kolya?” the other speaker asks about their mutual friend.

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Kolya, I don’t know who’ll take him from there. He’s still lying in the field, in a body bag.” the soldier replies.

 

“So what are you gonna do now?” the second speaker asks.

 

I don’t know what to do. They’ve written us off a long time ago, and there’s no way out from the zero line,” he replies, referring to the line of contact.

As the conversation continues, the soldier explains that contract servicemen from Luhansk were brought to the front and stationed in the second line of defense. They were given orders not to let anyone retreat from the first line of defense.

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And what if you just sneak back to headquarters and explain?” the second speaker asks.

 

“Headquarters? There’s no headquarters anymore,” the soldier says.

 

Well, cant you just retreat slowly?

 

Where will we go, Vova? They’ve brought the contract-guys in from Luhansk.”

 

So what, they’ll shoot you if you go back?” the second speaker asks.

 

Yeah, they’re shooting at us,” the soldier explains.

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“Our contract-guys, Russians?” the second speaker asks incredulously.

 

Yeah, theyre on our side, from the Luhansk prisons. About 30 of them attacking us. All the paperwork is set, were officially MIA, just like that.

 

“So, you have no way out?” the second speaker asks.

 

“No exit. Nothing. I wouldn’t even know where to go. It’s all mined,” the soldier explains.

 

I dont get it. Why were the contract guys given orders to kill you?” the second speaker keeps insisting.

 

Theyre getting rid of us, annulling us,” the soldier replies, using the frontline term for disciplinary execution.

 

I dont understand anything. Whats going on?

 

“Basically, they want to replace us, so they brought in contract-guys. Now theyre cleaning us up, and all the necessary documents have been prepared. Theyll just leave everyone here at their unit’s position and write us off as MIA,” the soldier explains.

 

While the authenticity of the call has not been independently verified, evidence of so-called “barrier units” – Russian troops charged with ensuring other soldiers cannot retreat – has been previously reported.

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In June, a battlefield video showing three armed Russian soldiers shooting at seven or more of their fellows as they ran away circulated on social media.

Additionally, previously released intercepted communications between Russian soldiers and their friends and family have revealed evidence of conscripted troops being forced to fight or face "execution on the spot."

 

While the exact date of the intercepted call is not known, the situation for soldiers on both sides is difficult as Ukraine’s summer offensive gains momentum.

 

The grinding assaults have allowed Kyiv to slowly gain ground at the cost of a constant flow of dead and wounded.

 

Ukrainian soldiers have told Kyiv Post they would fight on, but morale has been suffering with no quick end in sight.

 

However, the release of such intercepted conversations by Ukraines intelligence services indicates that Russias military finds itself a much more dire situation, with soldiers coming to fear their own side as much as that of their Ukrainian adversary.

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