In intercepted communication Russian soldier describes frostbite, lack of supplies: 'It's all FUBAR in a nutshell'

In intercepted communication Russian soldier describes frostbite, lack of supplies: 'It's all FUBAR in a nutshell'
AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

Monday we had reports that a pro-Kremlin news outlet had, perhaps accidentally, published figures for actual troop losses in Ukraine. Adding to the credibility of those numbers was the fact that soon after they were reported the site went down. In addition to that report there was also a report about a Russian military audio intercept released by Ukraine which claimed even higher losses. Was the intercept real or part of a Ukrainian disinformation campaign? That’s uncertain, but the numbers from the two sources weren’t that far apart.

In the last 24 hours there have been a series of reports based on a briefing by an unnamed US defense official Tuesday morning. Allahpundit wrote about the big takeaway from that briefing yesterday, i.e. that Ukraine may be in a position to take back some lost territory. He also mentioned reports that Russian soldiers are dealing with frostbite and low morale. Here’s a twitter thread about the same briefing by Washington Post military beat reporter Dan Lamothe.

I’m skipping over a bunch of tweets here, but here’s the discussion of Ukraine retaking territory.

And at the very end of the briefing was the mention of frostbite and low morale.

Newsweek has more including a quote from the unnamed Pentagon source:

A Pentagon official told reporters on Tuesday morning that the U.S. had received evidence of frostbite among the Russian servicemen, who lacked appropriate gear.

“Even in terms of personal equipment for some of their troops, they’re having trouble and we’ve picked up indications that some troops have suffered and [have been] taken out of the fight because of frostbite,” the senior official said.

In keeping with that briefing, last night the Chief Technology Officer of CrowdStrike created a thread based on another alleged Russian intercept. According to his description of what’s being said, it painted a grim picture of the ongoing invasion including frostbite and a lack of basic items such as tents, medical supplies and stoves.

There are several ways to look at this. The first is that the report must be fake because it’s not conceivable that Russia’s army isn’t prepared for cold weather. That does seem hard to believe at first glance, but another possibility is that so much money has been skimmed from the military budget that basic items like stoves and proper medical gear was never really purchased. Maybe that money went somewhere else and we’re only just learning about it now.

Or maybe the supplies were purchased but the Russian supply lines are so badly disrupted that they can’t get anything to soldiers further toward the front. On that point, there’s a new story out today with Ukrainian commanders claiming Russian soldiers will be out of supplies. including ammunition. within three days.

Russian forces have only three further days of fuel, food and ammunition left to conduct the war after a breakdown in their supply chains, Ukrainian military commanders have alleged.

The claims of major shortages were described as “plausible” by western officials although they said they were unable to corroborate the analysis.

But there’s another explanation that makes sense of the frostbite situation. In fact, this former Obama official (he worked at HUD but now runs a national security PR firm) says he predicted this would happen and that it all has to do with Russia’s inability to gain control of the skies.

Given what has been happening to Russian tanks thanks to British NLAWs and US Javelins, would you be able to fall asleep in a non-moving tank? So the alternative is to dig a ditch outside.

Is all of this reporting accurate or is it a carefully orchestrated disinformation campaign? I don’t know but here’s the alleged intercept mentioned above with English subtitles. The Russian sums up his situation of his unit by saying, “It’s all FUBAR in a nutshell.” If this is a real intercept then the Russian army must be nearing the point of collapse.

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