Rebellious soldiers in Ukraine are causing problems for President Vladimir Putin's forces.
Russia's Security Service (SBU) said Thursday that "experienced torturers" were being sent to quell an insurgency in the military and humiliate soldiers who refused to fight against Ukrainians, the Lanka Times reported.
Gen. Rustam Muradov, notorious for his atrocities in Syria after Russia intervened in a 2015 civil war, was among officials sent to deal with mutinous soldiers.
In one alleged phone call that SBU intercepted, a soldier supposedly told his father that soldiers were stripped, tied up, and taken away in trucks under Muradov’s orders.
"The commanders didn't want to lead their boys to death," the soldier said, the Daily Mail reported. "The guys themselves just weren't ready.
"So yesterday [Muradov] busted the f**k out of the commanders to make an example, he undressed them, made them pull everything out of their pockets, tied their hands. Then they loaded them into (buses) and took them away."
The Ukraine Defense Ministry's chief intelligence directorate used social media to share an audio clip in which a Russian soldier was overheard calling Putin an "old nutjob" and criticizing the war in Ukraine.
In the clip, a female friend tells the soldier that she thought Putin's Victory Day speech on May 9 was “gross,” adding that she had been “shaking all day” after listening to it.
The Russian soldier replies: "Well what do you want, he's an old nutjob,” before mocking Putin. "Yes let's get the USSR, f**k, Lithuania, Latvia, f**king Estonia, everything that's not part of Russia let's win back."
The two people then discuss territories Putin might try to invade after Ukraine.
The woman said she believed Belarus would send its own troops into Ukraine. The soldier replied: "Let them f**king join already then, what the f**k are we taking the rap all alone here for."
The woman then suggested Putin might not want to share his “victory” over Ukraine with another country.
"Right, 'victory,' as if we didn't f**k up enough around here already," the soldier answered.
A number of reports surfaced earlier this week about Russian troops exhibiting low morale, or even displaying insubordination against senior officers.
A senior Pentagon official on Monday said Russian forces had failed to make significant progress in Russia's military offensive in eastern Ukraine, partly due to "poor morale" and some troops "refusing to obey orders."
"We still see anecdotal reports of poor morale of troops, indeed officers, refusing to obey orders and move and not really sound command and control from a leadership perspective," the unidentified senior U.S. official told reporters.
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