A Russian soldier has revealed how his unit is faking videos filmed on the front lines in order to deceive his superiors into thinking Moscow’s forces are performing better than they are in reality.

In an intercepted phone published by Ukraine's Military Intelligence Directorate (HUR), the man tells his wife not to believe videos she sees on Russian state media channels as many of them could be staged.

His evidence? He’s done it himself.

The soldier’s wife begins by saying she saw a video of Russian troops retaking the village of Robotyne which was liberated by Ukrainian forces last month.

The soldier says: “I don’t believe that sh*t.”

“Why is it sh*t? she replies, adding: “They filmed it and showed it.”

The soldier replies: “I’ve also recorded bulls**t on the camera on my phone, showing that 'we’re fighting f**king great, we hold the f**king defense so bravely', but it’s a play. 

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Speaking further, he describes a particular incident when his commander instructed him to shoot the "9th Company. Part Two" [a Russian war film] 

“I dressed everyone up, put them in positions, and I went f**king through the trenches, shouting how ‘f**king incredibly’ they all fought,” he says.

“All the videos were sent somewhere up [to his superiors].”

He then reveals the real, dire conditions he finds himself in, saying that his company suffers overwhelming daily losses of men and weapons, even though there have been no Ukrainian infantry assaults on his positions lately. 

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He says: “There’s a body lying 100 meters away from my positions, and we can’t even pick it up. Yesterday there was no assault, there was no f**king anything else, only shelling of artillery.

The practice of deceiving superiors and a general culture of lying about military performance has been well documented among Russian forces, even by Russian officials themselves. 

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Last month a Russian politician wrote an extraordinarily frank account of the situation troops are facing on the front lines, saying that while he is assured of a Russian victory, it is “separated from us only by one serious problem of ours – lies.”

Though the intercepted call has not been verified, analysis of such conversations by Ukraine’s intelligence services indicates that Russia’s military finds itself in a dire situation in the face of Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive.

Previous calls include:

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