LONDON (Reuters) – The Russian Defense Ministry has suggested that relatives of soldiers killed in Ukraine apply to military rather than civilian authorities for compensation, imposing an additional level of confidentiality about war losses.
Russia already classifies military deaths as a state secret even in peacetime and has not updated official casualty figures in Ukraine for nearly four weeks.
In its proposal, the Department of Defense required that benefits paid to families of fallen soldiers not be overseen by civilian officials, but rather be handled by enlistment offices instead. She added that the move was aimed at “restricting the circle of people” with information about the killing of Russian soldiers in Ukraine.
The proposal appeared on a government legal information website. It was not clear when the government would review it.
The ministry said on March 25 that 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed and 3,825 wounded since Moscow launched what it called its own military operation in Ukraine on February 24.
It has not provided any update on military casualties since then, but the Kremlin has spoken of “significant losses”. Ukraine and Western governments have said they believe Russian losses are several times greater.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Gareth Jones)
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