Ukraine has some unlikely new recruits to help it fight the information war against the Kremlin – Russian propagandists.
In a tweet earlier this week, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense wrote: “A lot of you are wondering how the war’s going. At first, we thought about explaining it to you from our perspective.
“Then we realized we couldn’t improve on what the Russians are saying.”
The video then highlights a number of posts made by Russian milbloggers describing the situation facing Moscow’s troops as they face Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive.
“Does anyone out there have enough balls to start telling the truth to higher management, I don’t understand? You f**king wait until the Ukrainians come to Crimea, and then I’ll see how you make excuses there.” – “13th” milblogger Aug. 8th
“What kind of crap is happening right now in the Kherson direction… The enemy is rolling out boats along the Dnieper.. There are no words…” – “Romanov” Aug. 23
“Right now our guys are being cut to pieces on the island… The company commander and the soldiers tried to move forward to evacuate the guys… The brigade commander is afraid to report to the top about the current situation.” – “Romanov” Aug 25
“There will be bad news about Robotyne, unfortunately. We’re unlikely to keep it… our positions were constantly shelled with cluster munitions, and the enemy had no shortage of conventional artillery.
High EU official in surprise visit to Odesa to affirm continuing support.
“To tell you the truth, I am no longer so confident in some kind of ‘Victory’ while the country is dancing to the sounds of the approving cries of the country’s leadership. Do not expect anything good. It will only get worse. – “13th” Aug. 30.
While the examples chosen by Ukraine to highlight are all from August, there are plenty more recent examples that paint a similar picture:
“I wonder how long Shoigu will hide the breakthrough at Verbove? And will at least something be done to prevent the complete encirclement of [Russian forces]? Or will we again listen to stories about tactical regrouping, and a month later read a bunch of obituaries in local public pages? Give General Teplinsky the opportunity to correct the situation before the front collapses. Stop putting pressure on those who are not afraid to tell the truth about the state of affairs.” – “Airborne Forces for Teplinsky” Sept. 23
“We were laid with our faces on the floor like pigs. They beat me with rifle butts… I thought that the Nazis were on the other side. It turns out that they are inside us. A military police officer asked what my nationality was. I replied that I was Ossetian. He replied: ‘You’re a fucking idiot. Russia is for Russians.’” – Arsen Temiraev, a mobilized serviceman from the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania serving with the 70th Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment.
“The enemy is furiously attacking the positions of the 104th Airborne Regiment of the 76th Airborne Regiment from the Robotyne area in the direction of the settlement. Kopani. Between settlements Novoprokopovka and Verbovoe are also fighting, our artillery responds weakly. The commander of the 56th airborne regiment, Pytikov, sends his assigned units into mindless counterattacks in order to recapture lost positions.” – “Airborne Forces for Teplinsky” Sept. 23
There’s also evidence that milblogger reports are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to accurate information about the situation facing Russian troops.
According to a report from the Institute for the Study of War earlier this week, some milbloggers have admitted they only report 5-15% of the information they receive.
The ISW wrote: “One milblogger claimed that problems with communications, drones, tires, electronic warfare (EW), personnel payments, and various other issues persist among Russian forces on the… because Russian commanders routinely silence complaints and ignore efforts to fix problems.”
One Russian milblogger called ‘Revenge of Goodwill’ recently described the thinking behind self-censorship, saying: “Personally, we would like to draw attention to the fact that indeed not all information received needs to be immediately dumped into your channel.
“Certain information must ‘stay away.’ The ability to remain silent at the right moment is a good quality for everyone.
“There is no need to be ashamed of it… Hype on blood is completely unacceptable.”
Elsewhere, there appears to be far less self-censorship among Russians calling their friends and relatives by phone and a number of intercepted calls released by Ukraine’s Military Intelligence (HUR), also paint a grim picture on the front lines.
Previous calls include: