After Bucha, Izyum will probably go down in history as the scene of horrific war crimes in Ukraine. A mass grave was also discovered here after the Russian troops left the city. The city’s police chief speaks of more than 440 bodies, including numerous civilians.
Letters are now circulating from Russian soldiers who were apparently left behind when the troops fled the recaptured city. They paint a picture of demoralized, exhausted and beaten down fighters who want to go home. The Washington Post initially reported that some letters were also shared on social media.
“Moral exhausted”: Soldiers write letters asking for release
The ten handwritten letters are dated August 10th. “I refuse to serve in the special operations on Ukrainian territory because I have no vacation days and I’m morally exhausted,” the Post translated the letter from a man who identified himself as the commander of an anti-aircraft missile platoon from the Moscow region gave.
Another soldier asked for his release on the grounds “that my health has deteriorated and I have not received the necessary medical attention”. Another explained that he was suffering from “physical and moral exhaustion”.
Others complained that they were denied family leave, for example to get married or to witness the birth of a child. The writing style of the ten letters is similar. According to the “Post”, he suggests that the soldiers wanted to ask for their release together.
Russian schoolchildren want Russian victory in Ukraine
In addition to the soldiers’ letters, letters from Russian schoolchildren were also discovered in the house. They are in startling contrast to each other. The children’s letters testify to the influence of Kremlin propaganda.
As a boy named Geydar wrote: “I see how you fight in Ukraine. I wish your family to be very proud of you. I hope you will win in the end and when you have kids you will be a hero in their eyes.” The kid added, “I see everything that happens there. The Russian people are dying. Win the war, see you.” Under the words, the boy drew stick figures facing each other, waving Russian and Ukrainian flags.
Another boy, Pasha, wrote that he attended fourth grade in the city of Mytishchi, north of the Russian capital in the Moscow Region. “I thank you that we live under a bright and clear sky.”
Student: “I think war is something very bad and scary”
But even the youngest seem to be well aware that the soldiers have a hard time. “Hello, I don’t know who is receiving this letter, but I know that you are going through a really difficult time at the moment,” wrote a girl named Nastya. “That’s why I want to support you. It’s possible that you’re hungry, you’re cold, you want to go home to your family, or maybe you want to go back to your childhood friends.”
One boy, Leonid, wrote: “You protect peaceful civilians, you perform the primary duty of every person. I think war is something very bad and scary. There is the death of innocent people, destruction when you cannot live a normal life, when you are left without a home, when you have no job, and when you lose loved ones. I hope you persevere and we can achieve complete victory! Much luck! I believe in you!”
Russian soldiers probably fled in haste and left letters behind
According to Ukrainian sources, the letters were discovered in a two-story apartment building where the Russians were camped. Ukrainian soldiers found them along with other Russian belongings and gave them to the Post for inspection. These included boots and uniforms, the colorful letters of support from the Russian schoolchildren, but also a letter marked “Top Secret” to the commander of the 2nd Russian Motorized Rifle Division. The authenticity of the letters is now being examined by independent forensic experts.
Izyum is located in eastern Ukrainian Kharkiv Oblast, which was largely recaptured by the Ukrainians in a successful counter-offensive. Moscow initially spoke of a strategic “regrouping”. But secret service reports and pictures show that numerous Russian soldiers fled in haste. Even Russian war guns, including tanks, were left behind in a hurry.