International War in Ukraine
In less than a month of war, nearly 10,000 Russian soldiers would have lost their lives on Ukrainian territory, a rate much higher than the Soviet military losses in Afghanistan after ten years of war. There are also many desertions.
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Irpin, Ukraine, March 11, 2022
In front of the Ukrainian position in the far west of the city, where tanks and armored personnel carriers were destroyed during the attempted entry of Russian forces, two bodies of Russian soldiers lie in the rubble.
The voice is choppy. Reached by telephone in the region of Khantys-Mansis, in central Russia, Olga – the first name has been changed for security reasons – is surprised that her story “interests the French” but does not hide. His son, Nikolai, 22, was killed on February 27, just three days after the outbreak of war on February 24 by Vladimir Putin. “I learned about it on March 10 and his body was returned to us on March 15. »
If the word "war", forbidden by Russian legislation, escapes her, Olga pulls herself together. “Why did he participate in the g…, the special operation? I will probably never know. But if I had known there was a special operation, I would have done everything to prevent him from going there. I don't even understand how he was sent there. This is nonsense, you understand? »
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When the terrible news reached her, this mother asked questions: How? Where ? “The major replied 'what's the use of knowing? ”” Since then, Olga, who lives with her daughter in a locality in the Urals, on the banks of the Ob, has not ceased to return in her head to the last months, the last weeks, the last day she was in contact with his son. "It was the 20th [February], he said to me: 'It's fine, I'm in Belarus for exercises, on the 27th I'll be back home.' " Then nothing. Nothing but questions, again and again. “After his military service, he signed a contract [with the army] but he didn't tell me anything, not even his difficulties. I learned much later that he had little or nothing to eat or where to sleep. Any man has to go through the army, but why did he sign? When I asked him, he replied: “Because I have to.” He had just gotten married. »
"I don't understand what's going on," repeats Olga, who says she has always stayed away from politics. This bruised woman wonders today what has become of her son's friend, Yvan, who was with him, before concluding with this image: "If we had known that we were going to fall so low, we would have put hay on the ground. »
Everywhere, the lists of soldiers killed are getting longer
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