Families of Russian soldiers gone missing in Ukraine appeal to Putin

Relatives of 106 Russian servicemen who have gone missing since Russia unleashed a full-scale war on Ukraine appealed to President Vladimir Putin, demanding answers about their loved ones.

This was reported by RFE/RL’s Sever.Realii media project, which has a copy of the appeal at its disposal.

"We demand that our loved ones be located and added to the lists of prisoners of war who have gone missing. Search operations are not underway as they are registered as missing in action. For more than 5 months, the Russian Ministry of Defense has been blocking the move to alter their status, regardless of incoming reports. Relatives are forced to search for facts and prove on their own that their sons, or husbands are in captivity (or have died) – this is happening throughout the country. The authorized bodies perform poorly and there is no assistance from military unit commanders," says the appeal, which the parents and wives personally handed over to the president’s reception office on July 26.

The publication says those who have signed the appeal receive contradictory data from the Russian authorities about what has happened with their relatives. For example, one of them, a mother searching for her 19-year-old son, "has piled up a mountain of short formal responses: some say that he is alive, fighting at war, others say that he is in captivity in Ukraine, and others say that he has been killed."

Russia’s defense agency last time reported on their army’s losses in Ukraine late March, claiming a death toll at 1,351. At the same time, according to the latest update released by the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, the actual toll is approaching 40,000.