Ukraine: Russian senator admits to massive military losses
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Lyudmila Narusova is a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament and is one of a handful of Russian elites speaking out against the Ukraine conflict and the “misinformation” being peddled by the Kremlin. Ms Narusova, who is the widow of Putin’s former political mentor Anatoly Sobchak, spoke out at the Russian losses and told the chamber she was aware of a company that had lost 96 percent of its personnel in the fighting. She also acknowledged many conscripts had been forced to sign contracts to join the army or others had done it on their behalf as she continues to challenge Putin’s actions in Ukraine.
Ms Narusova spoke as the Russian Duma passed a new law punishing citizens with 15 years in prison if they are peddling “fake” information about the actions in Ukraine.
These mainly refer to calling the conflict a “war” rather than the Putin-approved “special operation”.
Ms Narusova’s statement loosely translated to: “Yesterday the conscripts, who were forced to sign a contract or signed for them, were withdrawn from the war zone in Ukraine.
“But from a company of a hundred men only four were left alive.”
She added the Defense Ministry had refused her request to confirm the reported casualties.
Russia said on Wednesday that 498 of its troops had been killed but the actual figure is likely much higher.
Ukraine claims more than 7,000 Russian troops have been killed as of Thursday with the emergency service saying more than 2,000 civilians are dead.
The United Nations puts the civilian death counter much lower at 331 as of Friday.
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Ms Narusova has hit out against Russia’s actions in Ukraine and told the independent liberal TV Rain that Russian soldiers were left “unburied; wild, stray dogs gnawing on bodies that in some cases cannot be identified because they are burned.”
She added: “I do not identify myself with those representatives of the state that speak out in favour of the war.
“I think they themselves do not know what they are doing. They are following orders without thinking.”
TV Rain and the Echo of Moscow radio station were shut down after both outlets were accused of “purposeful and systematic” posting of “information calling for extremist and violent acts”.
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TV Rain held its final broadcast on Thursday with the staff silently leaving the studio and broadcasted their final message of “no war”.
Ms Narusova spoke to TV Rain before they went on air and said: “Why are we supposed to trust only state channels which – we all know – shamelessly lie?”
Putin announced in a briefing on Thursday that the “mission” into Ukraine was going well and Russian troops had high morale.
The broadcast told Russians that troops were there to depose the “neo-Nazi” Ukrainian regime that was persecuting civilians in the east.
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