Russian military communications intercepted after they destroyed 4G towers needed for secure calls
Person using a cell phone (AFP)

On Monday, following reports of the combat death of Russian General-major Vitaly Gerasimov near Kharkiv, Ukraine, Christo Grozev, the executive director of investigative journalism and intelligence group Bellingcat, reported that Russian forces relaying the news back to their superiors were forced to use an unsecure phone line with a local sim card — that was promptly intercepted.

According to Grozev, Russian forces had no choice but to use the insecure line because Era — the highly secure cryptophone system implemented last year by the Russian Ministry of Defense which is supposedly guaranteed to work "in all conditions" — is down. And the reason the system is down is that Russian forces on the front destroyed all of the nearby 3G and 4G cell towers required for the system to establish a connection.

Russia's military, initially considered by experts to have an easy path to overwhelming and taking over the Ukrainian government by force of numbers alone, has faced an endless string of setbacks, low morale, and problems with their supply lines. One expert, retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, has warned the losses are "disastrous" and Russian forces could face a "shellacking" if they attempt an assault of Ukraine's major cities.

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