Russian officers refused to collect the bodies of dead troops so the military wouldn’t have to pay their families, convict soldier says

As the world watches the unfolding tragedy of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a chilling revelation has emerged from the shadows of conflict. An ex-convict, who bore witness to the harsh realities of serving in Putin’s army, has unveiled a harrowing truth that exposes the depths of inhumanity lurking within the military’s ranks. In a candid account shared with The New York Times, this soldier, known only as “Aleksandr,” revealed a sinister tactic employed by officers in Putin’s army—a tactic that adds an extra layer of agony to the already grim battlefield.

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Aleksandr’s voice echoes like a cry from the heart, recounting a dark episode where compassion and honor seem to have been abandoned. His words paint a haunting picture of a battlefield strewn with fallen comrades, while officers turned a blind eye to the fallen heroes who had given their all. “There were bodies everywhere,” he confided, his voice a somber echo of the horrors he had faced. ( In the face of such tragedy, the prevailing sentiment was indifference—a stark betrayal of the valor and sacrifice these soldiers had offered.

This chilling revelation exposes a heart-wrenching manipulation of fate. ( Officers reportedly refrained from collecting the bodies of the fallen, cynically labeling them as “missing in action.” This heartless stratagem served a cruel purpose: to deny grieving families the compensation they were rightfully owed. In a world where soldiers are hailed as heroes and their families are promised support, this sinister tactic robs them of their dignity and compounds their suffering. ( It’s a tactic that makes financial considerations outweigh the sanctity of human life—an act that leaves a scar on the collective conscience of a nation.

The grim realities of this revelation are intertwined with the broader context of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. As the world grapples with understanding the true extent of the casualties inflicted by the conflict, Russia’s official numbers fall far short of the grim reality. ( While officials acknowledge a loss of 6,000 soldiers, whispers of a far larger toll linger in the shadows. Western intelligence agencies suggest that the actual number could be a staggering 60,000—a grim testament to the magnitude of the tragedy. ( (

The BBC’s recent revelation, identifying more than 30,000 fallen Russian soldiers by name, paints a heart-wrenching picture of loss. Each name represents a life cut short, a family left shattered, and a future that will never be realized. As the numbers mount, the sheer magnitude of the loss becomes unbearable to contemplate. ( It’s a reminder that each life lost is not just a statistic, but a story of hopes, dreams, and aspirations left unfulfilled. (

As we grapple with these revelations, the complexities of Russia’s strategy come into focus. ( The nation’s reliance on convict units, a desperate attempt to fill the gaps left by decimated conscripted soldiers, adds another layer of desperation to the situation. ( The revelation that incarcerated soldiers were once a part of the equation, and that the Russian Ministry of Defense took control of recruitment, speaks volumes about the lengths to which the nation went to sustain its campaign.

In the midst of this darkness, Aleksandr’s brave decision to speak out becomes a beacon of hope. His voice, rising from the depths of despair, forces us to confront the harsh realities of war. It urges us to challenge a system that places financial calculus above the dignity of human life. As the world grapples with the fallout of conflict, may we remember the fallen, and may Aleksandr’s revelation serve as a call to action—an urgent plea to restore compassion, honor, and humanity to the heart of warfare.

James Julian

James is a former journalist and a current author, independent writer, entrepreneur, and investor.

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