In a series of phone calls intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence, Russian soldiers stationed in the Donbass region express frustration and resentment at their situation, as they face mounting casualties and lack of support from Moscow.

The phone calls, which were released by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) on Tuesday, reveal the discontent and anger of the Russian troops, who are officially denied by the Kremlin as being involved in the conflict.

One of the calls features a conversation between a Russian officer, identified as Major General Valery Solozobov, and his subordinate, Colonel Anatoly Sidorenko. Solozobov berates Sidorenko for failing to secure a strategic position near Debaltseve, a town that has been the scene of fierce fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Solozobov: “What the hell are you doing there? You’ve been sitting there for two weeks and you can’t take Debaltseve? Do you have any idea how many men we’ve lost because of your incompetence?”

Sidorenko: “Sir, we are doing our best, but the enemy is well-armed and well-trained. They have artillery, tanks, drones… We can’t advance without air support or reinforcements.”

Solozobov: “Air support? Reinforcements? Are you kidding me? Do you think Putin will send you anything? He doesn’t give a damn about you or your men. He only cares about his image. He pretends that we are not here, that we are volunteers or vacationers. He lies to the world and to his own people. And you expect him to help you?”

Sidorenko: “But sir, we are fighting for our motherland, for our brothers in Donbass. We are defending them from the fascist junta in Kiev.”

Solozobov: “Don’t give me that crap. We are not defending anyone. We are invading a sovereign country that wants nothing to do with us. We are not welcome here. We are not heroes. We are aggressors and occupiers. And we are dying for nothing.”

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