Russia-Ukraine live updates: At least 50 killed in airstrike on Kramatorsk train station
Soon after the invasion began, a hashtag war slogan popped up everywhere in Russia: “We don’t leave ours behind.” But many were.
In Irpin, on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, two Russian soldiers killed in battle lay on a street corner, covered with a sheet of metal, legs poking out. A third lay a few feet away near a burned-out armored personnel carrier, a lower leg gnawed by dogs. A fourth lay further along the road, the victim of a mine.
In Moshchun, a once-idyllic hamlet northwest of Kyiv, another Russian soldier died badly inside a dimly lit kitchen, lying on a bench with a gruesome groin wound. Ten others were scattered about, several on the fringes of a forest.
While countless bodies have been abandoned on the battlefield, many more have found their way back to their families, but Russia’s overall death toll, though staggering, remains elusive. At home, the Kremlin has clamped down on news of military casualties, apparently wary of how a nation’s grief could turn volatile. In 2015, Putin signed a decree declaring all military deaths a state secret, and last year Russia criminalized statements discrediting the military.