Ukrainian troops recaptured the city of Izium on September 9, after months of Russian occupation.
According to the WaPo report, Russian soldiers left behind letters and other belongings during their hasty retreat.
Letters give a glimpse of the physical and mental toll the war puts on Russian soldiers.
About 10 days before the Ukrainian army recaptured the city of Izium in the Kharkiv region on September 9, Russian soldiers wrote at least 10 letters to their superiors, asking to be relieved of active duty due to “moral exhaustion”, “deteriorating” health and lack of vacation time to see their family.
“I refuse to perform my duty in the special operation on the territory of Ukraine due to lack of vacation days and moral exhaustion,” one person identifying himself as commander wrote in a letter obtained by The Washington Post.
The 10 letters, dated August 30, were among the many possessions left behind in Izium as the Russian army hastily withdrew from the region after months of occupation.
Ukrainian soldiers provided original copies of the letters to The Post, which reported on the correspondence. Some of them were also posted on Twitter. However, The Post made it clear that the letters’ authenticity has not been confirmed by independent forensic experts.
One soldier wrote that he hoped to be relieved of his duties due to “the deterioration of my health and failure to receive necessary medical attention”. Another wrote that he was experiencing “physical and moral exhaustion,” The Post reported.
Other letters revealed that Russian soldiers were denied vacations and missed important family events such as marriages or seeing the birth of a child.
The 10 letters appeared to have been written in a similar way, The Post reported, suggesting they were written together.
The contents of the letters also share some of the tired feelings expressed by other Russian soldiers in recent days as Ukrainian forces recapture thousands of square miles of land.
In a phone call intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence, a Russian soldier said to his father, “Everything is bad, Dad… Besides, we’re losing, absolutely.”
The scale of the victims in the Kharkiv region is slowly coming into view.
A mass grave containing at least 440 bodies was found in Izium on Thursday, according to a tweet by Iuliia Mendel, former spokesman for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and other reporters.
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