Russian soldiers in Ukraine: 'Being mobilized is crap'

I’ve written about a number of these stories over the past month. They all follow the same basic premise as this Washington Post story published Sunday. The men who were recently mobilized by Russia to fight in Ukraine turn up with no equipment and no training and often wind up calling wives, girlfriends or mothers back home to tell them whatever they are hearing on Kremlin-run TV isn’t the truth.

Irina Sokolova’s husband, a Russian soldier mobilized to fight in Ukraine, called her from a forest there last month, sobbing, almost broken.

“They are lying on television,” he wept, referring to the state television propagandists who play down Russian failures and portray a do-or-die war for Russia’s survival against the United States and its allies…

The soldiers’ relatives, mostly people who would normally stay out of politics, are tempting the wrath of the Kremlin by posting videos online and in Russian independent media, and even speaking to foreign journalists. They say that mobilized soldiers were deployed into battle with little training, poor equipment and often no clear orders. Many are exhausted and confused, according to their families. Some wander lost in the woods for days. Others refuse to fight.

“Of course he had no idea how terrible it would be there,” Sokolova told The Washington Post. “We watch our federal TV channels and they say that everything is perfect.”

The Post spoke to the wife of another mobilized soldier who was pro-war until her husband was sent to Ukraine. Her partner received no equipment, no training and no food or water.

“They do not have any orders and they do not have any tasks,” she said. “I spoke to my husband yesterday and he said that they have no clue what to do. They were just abandoned and they have lost all trust, all faith in the authorities.”…

In the couple’s apartment, the television was always on, pouring out the Kremlin’s line that Russia is fighting the United States, not Ukraine. “We don’t know anything else,” Yana said. “We are so used to believing in what we are told.”

But after her husband was drafted, she gave the television away because it was making her “aggressive.” She said she fears for her husband’s life but said she does not blame Putin, “because he is a smart person.”

CNN is mining the same territory today with an intercept of a Russian soldier talking to his girlfriend. He describes the situation as “World War 3” and says if not for the reinforcements created by the mobilization, Ukrainian troops would already be at the Russian border. “Being mobilized is crap,” he said. “Nobody can go home until Putin announces the order,” he added.

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