Russian troops in Ukraine suffer frostbite in historic irony - intelligence

Russia has traditionally touted "General Winter" as one of its strongest allies, with the bitter cold having helped protect the country from invasions from Napoleon Bonaparte and the Nazis alike.

Russian soldiers march in Almaty, Kazakhstan, January 13, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/PAVEL MIKHEYEV)
Russian soldiers march in Almaty, Kazakhstan, January 13, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/PAVEL MIKHEYEV)

Russian troops invading Ukraine may be struggling to deal with frostbite induced by the cold temperatures, according to wiretapped Russian military talks leaked by Ukraine's Security Service and analyzed by reputable open-source investigators Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT).

In audio clips shared on Telegram by CIT and reported on by Pravda, soldiers near Mykolaiv near the Black Sea were stated to be suffering from frostbite.

The reason for this seems to be lack of supplies. Russian soldiers were allegedly not provided with adequately warm clothes or stoves, and have been forced to sleep in trenches due to lacking tents.

CIT corroborated this with sources, including the Pentagon, which had already noted about the lack of winter uniforms and the potential it could have to cause frostbite. Indeed, a US defense official had discussed the matter during a briefing earlier this week.

The fact that Russian troops are suffering frostbite is something that, according to the defense official, is a "symbol of a breakdown in unit morale and unit cohesion."

 The Pentagon logo is seen behind the podium in the briefing room at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 8, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/AL DRAGO/FILE PHOTO) The Pentagon logo is seen behind the podium in the briefing room at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 8, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/AL DRAGO/FILE PHOTO)

"You know how important morale is to military effectiveness and cohesion," Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby said later that same day.

"We certainly have indications that morale is a growing problem inside the Russian forces that are fighting in Ukraine. We've seen increasing indications that morale and unit cohesion is a problem and yes, absolutely translates into potential military effectiveness issues."  

This is also in line with the many logistical problems the Russians have encountered since the invasion began, with numerous supply and fuel issues slowing their progress.

Reports have also indicated that Russia expected a victory in a matter of days and thus did not take the weather into account.

Historical irony 

Russia has traditionally touted "General Winter" as one of its strongest allies, with the bitter cold having helped protect the country from invasions from Napoleon Bonaparte and the Nazis alike.

 Artistic rendition of Napoleon's Army beset by winter weather during retreat from Russia in 1812. (credit: Wikimedia Commons) Artistic rendition of Napoleon's Army beset by winter weather during retreat from Russia in 1812. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

It is even more odd, too, that the reports of frostbite are emerging now, after winter has ended and the early days of spring have arrived.

How unusual is this? 

Despite it being spring, Mykolaiv has been known to have below-freezing temperatures this time of year before, and this year is expected to be no different. In fact, it is in line with Ukrainian weather predictions made in January that the spring of 2022 would be unusually cold.

At the time of writing, according to Weather.com, Mykolaiv could reach temperatures of -1 degrees Celsius, and -3 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

According to AccuWeather, in the previous weeks, Mykolaiv temperatures were predicted to reach below-freezing temperatures on a near daily basis as well.

However, Russian soldiers aren't the only ones in Ukraine dealing with the cold, as many civilians left without power, such as in Mariupol, must deal with the freezing temperatures as well.