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Putin classifies information on peacetime military deaths

On May 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree classifying information on the deaths of military servicemen “during peacetime when carrying out special operations.” Before this, only military deaths during wartime were classified as a state secret.

A military conflict has been raging in the east of Ukraine since the spring of 2014. Pro-Russian separatists are fighting the Ukrainian army. Kiev has claimed on multiple occasions that Russian servicemen on active military duty are fighting alongside the separatists, while Russia officially denies any involvement in the military conflict.

Since the spring of 2014, human rights activists have found graves of Russian military servicemen who died under undisclosed circumstances. In August 2014, near the Russian city of Pskov, several paratroopers were laid to rest. According to media reports, the paratroopers had died in Ukraine. 

In May 2015, activists found more graves of soldiers who allegedly died in combat in the east of Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense has systematically refused to give any information on the circumstances of the deaths.

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