Russian Troops Sabotage Their Own Missile System to Sell as Scrap Metal, Says Ukrainian Intel
Ukrainian authorities say they have uncovered an alleged new scheme from fed-up Russian troops angling to get out of the war: They’re apparently now sabotaging their own weapons and trying to sell the parts as scrap metal.
That’s according to the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, which on Tuesday named and shamed the Russian forces they say failed spectacularly in a recent attempt to sell off parts of Russian missile systems in the Donetsk region.
“In order to avoid going to the frontline, the commanders of a squadron from the 933rd anti-aircraft missile regiment… decided to make their equipment unfit for active service,” the agency said in a statement. The troops “removed the control units from Tor-M2U [missile systems] and decided to sell them at a collection point for precious metals.”
The plan is said to have backfired when the troops demanded a higher payoff for the goods, prompting the local workers at the scrap metal point to alert law enforcement of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.
Ukrainian intelligence says the damaged Russian equipment was ultimately blamed on active fighting rather than sabotage, with the entrepreneurial troops sent back to the frontline despite their best efforts. They were identified as members of the 933rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division, part of the 8th Guards Combined Arms Army of the Southern Military District.
The intelligence arm of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry did not disclose how it learned of the apparent sabotage scheme. But the report adds to a long list of increasingly creative attempts by Russian troops to abandon the fight, from fake marriage to self-injury.
In response to the rock-bottom morale among troops, there have been reports of the Russian military sending in FSB officers and high-ranking brass to keep tabs on disloyal troops.
In audio of what Ukrainian intelligence described as an intercepted call released Tuesday, a man identified as a Russian soldier can be heard complaining to his wife about his struggles to bring those under his command in line.
After she tells him she heard about Ukrainian forces edging out Russian soldiers in several areas, the man responds that “it doesn’t matter” to him.
“My own fucking mules are driving me batshit crazy,” he said, before going on to tell her the situation with morale is worse than “critical” among his men.
“Well fucking shoot one of them demonstratively, and the others will maybe shut up,” she said.