Russia: Nemtsov report details activities in Ukraine

Opposition members and colleagues of the assassinated Boris Nemtsov released a report estimating the number of Russian soldiers secretly fighting in eastern Ukraine. Apparently Nemtsov was working on the report before he was shot in February in Moscow – the report, only 65 pages long, details that some 70 Russian troops were killed in eastern Ukraine in August as rebels took the strategic town of Debaltseve and asserted that fighting on behalf of these troops has persisted at low levels despite the ceasefire accord.

In total, the Nemtsov report alleges that 220 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine as a result of participation in major battles like Debaltseve mentioned above. Opposition leaders said they ran into difficulties finding a printer who were willing to take the risk to print off their pamphlet. Nemtsov became aware of a direct connection to the deaths of Russian soldiers in Ukraine when he heard of victim’s families’ lack of compensation for their sons’ deaths, and began tallying up the dead this way.

The report also went over expenditures for the ongoing conflict, saying that some 21 billion roubles have been expended on the upkeep of volunteer soldiers, as wells 25 billion rubles on the upkeep of local militia, and some 7 billion on the servicing of Russian military hardware, amounting to an enormous sum considering the damage that state revenues have taken in the past year.

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