The Washington PostThe Washington Post

The letters left behind by demoralized Russian soldiers as they fled

By Siobhán O'Grady and Anastacia Galouchka

15 Sep 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

The Washington Post has obtained letters purported to have been written by Russian soldiers in which they are pleading with their commanding officers to be dismissed.

IZYUM, Ukraine - About 10 days before Ukrainian forces retook the city of Izyum last weekend, Russian troops stationed here were so demoralized that they drafted letters begging their superiors to dismiss them from their roles.

The 10 handwritten letters, dated Aug. 30, were left behind in a two-story residential house where Russians were squatting and later found by Ukrainian soldiers who provided the letters to The Washington Post for review. They paint a portrait of dejected troops desperate for rest and concerned about their health and morale after months of fighting.

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