The bodies of Russian servicemen killed in Ukraine were hauled to a rail yard outside of Kyiv and placed in a refrigerated train with hundreds of others, waiting to be returned to their families.
‘Most of them came from Kyiv,’ Volodymyr Lyamzin, the top civil-military liaison officer, told Reuters on Friday as stretcher-bearers in white, head-to-toe protective suites carried bodybags into the box cars.
He claimed that refrigerated trains stationed around Ukraine were being used for the same dreadful purpose.
While no solid figures of Russia’s losses have been made, the sight captured by Reuters provides a stinging taste of the price President Vladimir Putin has paid since authorising the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
A day earlier, Ukraine’s military released overhead photos of the burned-out and abandoned wreckage of a Russian armoured column caught attempting to cross a river in the Donbas area, which has become the primary battleground.
A pontoon bridge and portions of an armoured battalion were destroyed at the Siverskyi Donets River, according to the British defence ministry, while Russian forces attempted to breach defences elsewhere in the Donbas.
‘We are entering a new, protracted phase of the conflict,’ Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov wrote on Facebook, anticipating ‘very difficult weeks’ in which Ukraine would be fighting a ‘enraged aggressor’ on its own.
Ukrainian soldiers have pushed their adversaries out of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, for the first time since forcing Russian invaders to halt an assault on Kyiv over a month ago.
For at least two weeks, the northeastern city, which had been heavily bombarded, has remained silent. Ukraine controls terrain reaching 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of the Siverskyi Donets River, according to Reuters journalists.
Moscow, on the other hand, continues to bombard surrounding settlements, notably Dergachi, some 10 kilometres (six miles) north of Kharkiv.