Vladimir Putin would like everyone to believe that he’s swaggering through his Ukraine war, but the Botox-filled wannabe tsar isn’t having the easiest time toppling Volodymyr Zelensky and his people. Reportedly, Putin’s lost half of his army to death or serious injury, and that doesn’t even begin to account for the many top generals that have gone missing or have been killed. Not only that, but Russian troops also nearly blew away their top commander early on in the conflict.
In short, no one seems to want to fight in Putin’s war. Not only is he recruiting soldiers from Russian prisons known as “hell holes,” but troops also consider the actual conflict to be “hell” because everything is so poorly planned and executed. Clearly, it’s chaos, and a (speedy) new memoir from a Russian paratrooper further reveals how Putin’s guys aren’t really his guys. Via Business Insider, 33-year-old Pavel Filatyev wrote how “[s]omeone began to shoot himself in the limbs … to get 3 million rubles and get out of this hell.” The Guardian was first to report on the horrors to surface in this memoir:
Filatyev describes his unit, as the war dragged on, being pinned down in trenches for nearly a month near Mykolaiv under Ukrainian artillery fire. It was there that a shell blasted mud into his eye, leading to an infection that nearly blinded him.
As frustrations grew on the front, he wrote about reports of soldiers deliberately shooting themselves in order to escape the front and collect 3 million roubles (£40,542) in compensation, as well as rumours of acts of mutilation against captured soldiers and corpses.
That certainly says a lot about how Russian troops feel flat-footed and ill-prepared, likely through no fault of their own. Early reports of stranded Russian convoys (who ran out of fuel because they didn’t think they’d need that much, meaning that they probably didn’t think they’d meet much resistance) still prevail, and Ukraine has been going in hard within Crimea because Putin considers this to be a “holy land,” especially after illegally claiming the Black Sea peninsula back in 2014.
In other words, Russia’s easy win isn’t so easy, and even his troops don’t want to be there, suggesting that Putin’s planned fall victory is anything but certain.