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- Russian soldiers are getting killed by their own military, according to multiple reports.
- In audio released by Ukraine, a Russian soldier said 20 men died after a Russian tank fired on them.
- The soldier told his mother there are more losses “from our own” than from Ukrainians.
Russian soldiers are suffering more losses “from their own side” than from Ukrainians on the front, including being fired on by their own tanks, according to an intercepted phone call released by Ukrainian intelligence on Tuesday.
In the audio clip, a Russian soldier identified only as Aleksei told his mother that the military had to send for reinforcements after 20 men died in an accident on the front.
“Our tank hit hard: It fired twice and 20 guys, fuck,” Aleksei told his mother, according to The Daily Beast. “I’m telling you, there are more losses from our own [guys],” than the Ukrainians, he said, according to The Beast.
It is unclear where Aleksei was stationed. The audio has not been independently verified.
Reports of friendly fire incidents among Russian troops have increased in recent months.
A report by the independent Russian outlet iStories, also published on Tuesday, found a pattern of negligence and deadly mishaps among troops fighting in Ukraine.
While friendly fire occurs in any warzone, experts told iStories that the rate of Russians killing each other had shot up in recent months. Ukrainian military expert Alexander Kovalenko told the outlet that such incidents are now being reported daily.
The outlet highlighted two incidents in the last few months where a Russian soldier accidentally killed another because of drunkness and the clumsy use of weapons.
One draftee, identified as Roman Moiseev, was accidentally shot by a colleague earlier this year after he tried to take off his loaded machine gun, but then touched the trigger.
Moiseev died from his wounds and his colleague was sentenced to two years of probation for mishandling his weapon, iStories reported.
Some have suggested that incidents of Russians killing Russians are not always accidental.
The New York Times reported last weekend that the fractured nature of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, with the involvement of mercenaries as well as regular army troops, is leading to hostilities between forces.
The outlet reported one incident in which a soldier recounted how a Russian tank commander deliberately charged at his supposed allies, blowing up their checkpoint.
It is unclear how many Russians have died in Ukraine. Last month, US Army General Mark A. Milley estimated that 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded since the start of the war on February 24, though the number is likely to be far higher.