IRYNA BALACHUK - TUESDAY, 26 JULY 2022, 16:43
More than 100 families of Russian soldiers who went missing during the war of aggression in Ukraine have appealed to Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, to find their relatives, while at the same time they are not asking to stop the war.
Source: Sever.Realii [North Realities], a Radio Liberty project, which has a copy of the Russians' letter
Quote from the letter: "We demand to find our loved ones, to include them in the lists of prisoners of war who have disappeared. Searches are not being conducted, and their status is still 'missing'.
The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation has been blocking the change in the status of servicemen for more than 5 months, regardless of the constantly changing data. Relatives have to look for facts and prove that their son, husband is in captivity (or died) - this is the case throughout the country."
Details: According to relatives of the occupiers' servicemen, "the authorised bodies are not working well, there is no help coming from the commanders of the military units."
It has been reported that parents and wives of Russian military personnel personally delivered the letter to the reception of Putin's offices on 26 July. 106 people signed the petition.
They are asking Putin not only to find the occupiers who have disappeared in Ukraine, but also to create places throughout Russia where relatives of soldiers could receive help in finding their loved ones in Ukraine, whether they are alive or have been captured, injured or killed.
In a comment to Ukrainska Pravda, the relatives of the missing occupiers continue to repeat the mantra that their children and husbands would never have gone voluntarily to participate in the "special operation" and that they were deceived by the military command when they were sent to Ukraine instead of to the promised training.
At the same time, Anastasiia Mitina, the mother of contract soldier Nikita Mitin, said that her son called her on 28 February and said that he was being sent on a mission, and she then asked if he was going to Ukraine. Later, the son confirmed that he was going to Ukraine and that he allegedly could not refuse, because "he will face criminal charges [punishable by] imprisonment for up to 20 years for refusing [to take part in the war against Ukraine]." According to the mother, her son fought in Kharkiv Oblast.
Another woman said that her son got to Bucha [Kyiv Oblast] on 27 February. At the same time, she said she has "nothing against war" and claimed that "military actions in Ukraine were necessary to protect the Donbas side and protect Russian rights". The woman also added that she allegedly does not understand why it was necessary to attack Kyiv and "why hundreds of Russian servicemen died."
The occupier's mother also believes that Putin "didn't know anything" about all this, because "a lot goes past the president," and "this whole operation was sold from the very beginning."
One of the other women, Irina Chistiakova, has set up several chat groups with mothers of servicemen to help search for those who have been injured, killed or are still alive. It is reported that there are now about 25,000 relatives of Russian occupiers in these chats.
According to Chistiakova, she was threatened by the Russian military for her activism. But she does not see any other way, she says that all parents of military personnel are faced with "the indifference of the authorities, from the president to municipal bodies."
Another mother, whose 20-year-old son allegedly went "to study in Belarus", reported having received threats - this time from the FSB.
Relatives of occupiers who disappeared in Ukraine are demanding that Putin "find their children and husbands", return the prisoners, initiate DNA tests if there is information on where a fighter is buried, etc.
At the same time, there is no demand in the letter to Putin to end the war in Ukraine.
Why this is important:
Russia attacked Ukraine on 24 February. The first captured Russian soldiers claimed that they did not know that they were going to war, they all told stories "about training near the borders of Ukraine." However, the conversations of the Russian occupiers intercepted by the Security Service of Ukraine attest otherwise: the Russian soldiers not only knew where they were going, but also chose to kill civilians, rape Ukrainian women and rob Ukrainian houses in captured villages and cities, which they boasted about in conversations with their relatives and brothers-in-arms.
Since the first days of the war, Ukraine has created several resources for Russians to search for their relatives who have been killed or captured. In Russia, all these sites were blocked.
In addition, Russia refuses to repatriate the bodies of its servicemen lying in refrigerated carriages in Ukraine.
Many Russians support Putin's so-called special operation, while those who disagree with it do nothing to stop the war.
At the beginning of June, it was reported that the number of complaints by Russians to Putin about the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation due to the war in Ukraine has increased sharply. It was noted that in 4 months of 2022, the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin received 1.2 million complaints about the Ministry of Defence, almost 42,000 of which were about problems finding relatives who have gone missing in the war with Ukraine.