More evidence that Russian soldiers do not want to fight in Ukraine is surfacing on social media. Ukraine’s Intelligence Agency has intercepted another conversation between a Russian soldier and his friend, where they discuss the soldier’s attempt to fake a marriage to go back home to Russia – which did not work since the soldier is believed to be in Ukraine now.

“The Russian occupiers are trying to make sham marriages to escape the war,” the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) wrote on Facebook, translated into English. “This is evidenced by telephone conversations of Russian invaders, which were intercepted by the SBU.”

While there is a number of credible reports of low morale within the Russian forces fighting in Ukraine, we highly suggest that our readers take this article with a grain of salt as all intercepted communication from the Russian forces cannot be verified.

The wiretapped conversation featured a supposed Russian soldier and his friend. The two were discussing how many have made unsuccessful attempts to be sent back home.

“No options at all: either you get wounded, killed, or there’s an official order to withdraw,” the supposed Russian soldier said.

In the conversation, the soldier shared how he tried to arrange a fake marriage to escape the fighting. “I’ve already told a female friend: ‘Can you go to the registry office and file for a marriage?'” the man said. “Anyway, I was told: ‘No way. This is not an option’.”

As the war in Ukraine surpasses its 100th day, Russian troops are getting more frustrated as the fighting sees no immediate end. SOFREP has extensively followed the trail of evidence that points directly to supply, leadership, and moral problems so severe that a considerable number of Russian troops have little interest in fighting in Ukraine, going back to the beginning of the conflict when captured Russian troops stated they had they were told they were invading Ukraine as they crossed the border.

“This won’t end anytime soon. What the hell do I need this for? At 20 years old… I’m not at all interested in Ukraine. I need to come back and resign,” a supposedly frustrated Russian soldier said in another intercepted conversation.

“I had a commander… who shot himself in the leg just to get out of here. And that was in the very beginning! What is there to talk about? He served in Chechnya,” the same soldier added.

Societal and familial links between Ukraine and Russia are very much evident due to their shared history. We have discussed in the past that Russians have family and friends in Ukraine as the two countries have an intertwined history together from the Soviet Union.

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Many also get married to one another and cross the border from time to time to visit each other’s family and relatives. While Ukraine had largely shifted to the West in recent years before the invasion, the familial connection aspect is hypothesized to be one of the reasons why Russians are hesitant to fight Ukrainians.

Former member of the State Secretary’s policy planning team and now history professor Michael Kimmage discusses this briefly:

“There are good reasons for low morale on the Russian side. The war isn’t going well. Its purpose is unclear, and fighting a war against a neighbor—with whom it’s easy to communicate—is psychologically burdensome to soldiers,” highlighting that even their languages do share similarities, which can be the source of psychological strain to some as they do not see Ukrainians as enemies.

Dead Russian soldiers stored in refrigerated trains in Ukraine. Russian forces left them in Ukraine possibly to hide their casualty numbers (Lindsey Hilsum). Source:
Dead Russian soldiers are stored in refrigerated trains in Ukraine. Russian forces left them in Ukraine, possibly to hide their casualty numbers (Lindsey Hilsum/Twitter)

Furthermore, word may be getting out in Russia that they are getting beaten by the Ukrainians as more and more of their high-ranking military officers are sent back to the Kremlin and given proper funerals. It just goes to show how Russia’s efforts to hide their dead by leaving them in ditches in Ukraine and cremating them in mobile cremation stations. Disposing of dead Russian soldiers in Ukaine in this manner would allow the Kremlin to conceal its casualties from their own population by claiming the deceased was captured or missing. It also allows the Russian government to avoid paying a lump sum to the family and a monthly pension to his surviving spouse and children.

The Russian population, as much as they are currently isolated from the world, can still gain information from international media sources. We must not treat the Russians as blind followers of Putin, as many of them vehemently oppose the war, as evidenced by protests that have taken place in several major cities across Russia. We are also seeing credible reports of acts of resistance within Russia in the form of arson and vandalism of recruiting stations, and businesses connected to the Russian armaments industry. The Russian people are now more than four months into a “Special Military Operation” that was supposed to last just a few days.  They know it’s not going well for their army.

No Escape From Putin’s Invasion

In the initial post, the Ukrainian SBU also mentioned that Russian commanders are putting a squeeze on their troops as more and more were trying to look for an excuse to be sent back to Russia.

“Due to the significant number of defectors in the army of ruscists, control was significantly strengthened. So now they can return home only in three cases: injury, death of the occupier or a close relative,” the SBU added on Facebook. “The option with a fictitious marriage, no matter how original it was, did not work for the soldiers.”

(Note: The word “Ruscists” is a word currently in use in Ukraine to mean Russian Fascism)

We’re not sure why the Russians thought that a sham marriage would work. Maybe they thought they could get a special pass to go home if they said they would get married by a certain date, but we can’t be sure what goes through their mind at this point. What we can be sure of is that the Russians are getting desperate not to get deployed.

This is further evidenced by a report we published earlier in May, when six Russian military recruitment offices were attacked with Molotov cocktails in an effort to prevent Russians to get deployed to Ukraine. These attacks came during the country’s annual military enlistment season, where men aged 19 to 27 are required to serve in the Russian military for two years as per the Kremlin’s mandate.

The Russian conscription system also reveals the corruption that has seeped deep into the country’s public agencies. Many citizens with ample financial and political resources can simply bribe their way out of required military service. Hence, those left as conscripts typically come from poor households. The system is so broken that Russia is said to fall far short of their conscription goals each year.  Russia may not even know how many soldiers it actually has in uniform.  Soldiers who desert are often not reported by their officers who pad the books to charge the government for housing, food and clothing for soldiers who disappear.  It would also be easy for a Russian commander to have a forged ID card of a missing soldier made, use it to open an on base bank account and do the paperwork to take the soldier’s pay by direct deposit.

The current Russian offensives into the Luhansk and Donbas regions are a series of short advances and retreats by their forces who seem to not have the ability to make deep penetrations into Ukrainian territory or hold their limited gains once they are taken. We think this is a reflection not only of the tactical problems Russia has in supplying its front line troops for offensive operations, but also a lack of fighting spirit by Russian troops who have been months in the field now without rest or respite and little success on the battlefield to show for their losses.