Here are some "known knowns" about Russians and Ukraine. Russian troops are in Ukraine. Russian troops have died in Ukraine. Russian mothers can't get answers about where their sons are. Add to that common knowledge a new, unsettling "known" that Russian soldiers, most just boys, are being buried in secret graveyards far from families who can only guess their fate.
Valeria Sokolova and dozens of other wives who want to know the fate of their absent Russian Army husbands gathered at the paratrooper base in Kostroma, Russia. They were demanding to know the fate of their husbands, who had been deployed to "drills" on the Ukraine border. What they do know is that comrades have been on videotape as POWs held in Ukraine. Western reports have stated that over a hundred Russians had been recently wiped out in actions within the Ukraine border.
(AFP via Yahoo)"Cargo-200 arrived yesterday," Sokolova said, citing military officials and using the Russian army term for body bags.
Funerals for those killed are expected to be held in the town on Friday.
The women stood outside the drab base with banners extolling the "beloved troops of the motherland", but military commanders refused to confirm that their loved ones had been sent to Ukraine, Sokolova said. They were told they could not hold a formal demonstration and should go home.
"They would only tell us that they are not in Russia," she said.
Remember the rage in the US as American soldiers were coming home by the hundreds from a war that was covered incessantly. Imbedded journalists literally rode side by side with forces spearheading our misadventures into Iraq and Afghanistan. Mothers learned daily that their sons and daughters had been killed in Samarra, Fallujah and Wanat. Brave and devastated mothers camped in President Bush's front yard in Crawford. Many could not comprehend why their children had become cannon fodder. In Moscow however, Russian mothers just know rumors of a war and fear of silence.
NATO said on Thursday that "well over a thousand" Russian troops are operating inside Ukraine.
Russian independent media this week reported on secret funerals held for several soldiers in northwestern Russia, citing mourners who said they were killed in Ukraine.
In today's Russia "independent media" is akin to pirate radio. All truly independent mainstream media in Russia has long succumbed to Putin's propaganda machine. You might as well be reading Pravda in 1979 about Afghanistan.
Critics have drawn parallels with the official denials earlier this year from the Kremlin that paramilitary forces had been sent to Crimea prior to its annexation by Russia. The government later admitted the soldiers had operated in the peninsula and awarded some with medals for their service.
Parallels have also been drawn to the early days of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, which was officially denied when it began in 1979. Bodies returning from Afghanistan were buried in secret.
Old men start wars. Young men fight them. Mothers and wives can stop them. Rumors are becoming facts daily and nothing the Kremlin does can stop that. Let's take a moment to remember those American mothers and wives who fought that fight and hope sanity can take hold before hundreds or thousands more coffins need built in Ukraine and Russia.
Comments are closed on this story.