Families in Russia are grieving as the coffins of the first drafted soldiers return from Ukraine amid the ongoing war with the ex-Soviet state. The soldiers were a part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special operation” that began on February 24.
On Thursday, the Chelyabinsk region announced the deaths of five mobilised soldiers from a single military commissariat.
Reports on Saturday said that another four had died from the Krasnoyarsk region alone.
Family members of some men who died said they had been promised two months of training before they would be sent to the frontline.
According to Guardian, Alexei Martynov, a 28-year-old employee of the Moscow Government, was mobilised on September 23.
The news publication reported that his death was confirmed on October 10.
His father wrote in a post on October 13: “My son has died, what am I for?”
He told the Observer: “We don’t know anything more than what was put on the internet.”
Old photographs from Victory Day in 2016 showed Martynov in army uniform, two months after completing his mandatory service.
According to Natalya Loseva, the deputy editorial director of the Russia Today television channel, he had served in the Semyonovsky regiment, whose main activities are ceremonial.
In an angry post last week that helped make Martynov the highest-profile death yet from the wave of mobilisation, Loseva wrote: “He had no combat experience.
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“He was sent to the front within just a few days. He died heroically on 10 October.”
Roman Super, a Russian journalist who has reported on anger among state employees, said that Martynov’s death had led to a backlash among the educated cadres of city workers.
Loseva also said: “Military leaders, now is not the time to lie.
“You have no right to lie and now it is a crime.”
According to BBC Russian, another 14 have died, even before reaching the front, of causes including suicide, heart attacks, in fights and other mysterious ailments.
On Wednesday, Russian lawmaker Maxim Ivanov, who is overseeing the mobilisation in the region, said that a mobilised man from the Chelyabinsk region had died of a drug “overdose” while he was at a training centre.
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Since Putin announced the mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of reservists on September 21, Russian media and local officials have repeatedly reported the deaths of mobilised soldiers, mainly in the central Urals region and in Siberia.
On October 3, Ivanov said three mobilised soldiers had died at a military base in Sverdlovsk region, central Russia.
According to Ivanov, one died from a heart attack, another committed suicide and the third died of alcohol-related liver cirrhosis after he was sent home.
The Kremlin has acknowledged “errors” were made during the mobilisation, following reports of people who were not eligible, including students and elderly or infirm people, receiving the summons.