The New York Times published dozens of audio recordings of Russian soldiers in Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials intercepted calls the soldiers were making home to Russia.
The soldiers largely complained about how the war was going and being misled by state leaders.
Russian soldiers calling home from the frontlines in Ukraine said they had been "fooled" and did not realize they were heading into war, according to audio obtained by The New York Times.
The Times published on Wednesday several audio recordings of calls made by Russian soldiers that were intercepted by Ukrainian officials. The outlet spent months translating and verifying the authenticity of the recordings by matching phone numbers with other apps and social media accounts.
"No one told us we were going to war. They warned us one day before we left," one soldier identified as Sergey said on a phone call to his mother.
"We were all going for training for two or three days," another soldier, identified as Nikita, is heard telling a friend. "We were fucking fooled like little kids."
A third soldier, Aleksey, concurred that he was told they were going for training, telling his partner: "I didn't know this was going to happen."
"These bastards didn't tell us anything," the soldier added.
Since launching an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin has avoided referring to the conflict as a war, instead using the term "special military operation."
The narrative conveyed by the Russian government and state media has often clouded the realities of the war, downplaying the country's missteps and Ukraine's victories.
Russian soldiers also appear to be among those who were misled, with some saying they were lied to about the plans to invade Ukraine and unprepared for the resistance they were met with in the country.
In another recording published by The Times, the soldier identified as Sergey tells his girlfriend that state media is trying to fool the Russian people about the war.
"They just want to fool people on TV, like, 'Everything is all right; there's no war, just a special operation,'" he said. "But in reality, it's an actual fucking war."
Many of the soldiers captured in the calls complained about how poorly the war was going. One soldier said he was told by his commanders to "kill everyone we see," including civilians, which would be a war crime.
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