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War in Ukraine – Russians killed. Rossiya government planes carry bodies – The Moscow Times portal

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Russia uses government planes to silently bring the bodies of military personnel killed in Ukraine to the towns where their funerals take place, The Moscow Times reported, citing relatives of the dead and flight data. One of these machines, with the side number RA-65911, was on the frames broadcast by the state media.

For such purposes, The Moscow Times reported, the planes of the government company Rossiya, which handles the travel of representatives of the highest authorities, are used. The Kremlin has 68 planes and helicopters at its disposal.

One of these machines, with the side number RA-65911, was featured in frames broadcast by the state media when they reported on bringing to Tatarstan the body of the first military man from this region, who died in Ukraine the portal pointed out. It was in March 2022. According to local media, the machine on which he traveled in 2016 had the same side number Vladimir Putinwhen he was visiting one of the neighboring regions Russia.

Destroyed Russian tank in UkraineSERGEY DOLZHENKO/PAP/EPA

Flights of state planes, reports of funerals

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The Moscow Times looked at data from aircraft tracking services and found that Rossiya’s planes flew between different regions of the country between January and early February this year. According to the portal, there is a correlation between the flights of these machines and regional media reports about the funerals of military personnel killed in Ukraine.

For example, on January 23, the aircraft with the tail number RA-61720 landed in Yekaterinburg in the Urals. Over the next 24 hours, information appeared about the funerals in Yekaterinburg of a military man from the regular army and a mercenary from the Wagner Group. On January 25, the machine with the number RA-87972 arrived in Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan, and the video recorded a shot of 11 zinc coffins. One of them bore the name “A. Jangibayev”. A week later, someone from Tatarstan ethnicity posted information about Jangibayev’s funeral on social media.

Boeing 777 airliner of the Russian airline Rossiya shutterstock

“The same pattern – flights of the presidential plane, followed by funerals of soldiers – was recorded on January 26 in the Arkhangelsk and Vologda regions, and between February 8-12 in the Orenburg and Chelyabinsk regions,” the portal reported.

“I saw six big trucks that reeked of rot and corpses”

It is difficult to assess where the planes are transporting the bodies of the soldiers, but relatives of the dead told The Moscow Times that they were collecting the bodies from a military hospital in Rostov-on-Don. This city is located in the south of Russia, less than 100 kilometers from the border with Ukraine. The Rostov region is adjacent to the areas Donbasswhich have been under the control of Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

“While I was there, I saw six big trucks that reeked of rot and corpses. I saw them being unloaded – truckloads of bodies, zinc coffins on top of each other. The sight terrified me, even though I work in intensive care and have seen corpses. I’ve seen so many of them,” the son of the killed military man told the portal. He went to Rostov-on-Don in the fall of 2022 to identify his father’s body in the local hospital.

Russian casualties in the invasion of Ukraine

For their part, mortuary workers told reporters about the local government’s order to limit the release of bodies to families to one or two per day. “The authorities want to avoid a situation where relatives line up in front of the morgues,” said one of the employees of the morgue in the Orenburg region. He stressed that in a small town “handing over so many bodies at once could cause panic”.

The Moscow Times recalled that, according to Western estimates, Russian casualties in the invasion of Ukraine could have reached 180,000 killed and wounded in a year of war.

Main photo source: shutterstock

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