Some Wounded Russian Soldiers Find Compensation Elusive, Despite Putin’s Pledge – Sources

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Every week into Moscow’s battle in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a gesture of solidarity together with his troopers on the entrance: injured males may declare compensation of three million roubles, equal to about $50,000 or the quantity a median Russian employee would earn in 4 years.

“It’s our duty to support the families of our fallen and injured war comrades,” stated Putin when he introduced it in early March.

However with the numbers of wounded servicemen mounting, a few of them are discovering that Putin’s gesture is just not as beneficiant because it initially appeared. Reuters has discovered that some injured troopers – together with these with important wounds – are struggling to acquire the compensation, based mostly on interviews with 4 injured Russian service personnel, a wounded soldier’s relative, two individuals concerned with advocacy teams representing troopers and a lawyer.

For some, it’s as a result of a little bit-observed clarification to the principles has narrowed the factors for eligibility; others face bureaucratic obstacles or delays in getting purposes permitted.

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Maxim Grebenyuk, a lawyer who runs a Moscow-based mostly advocacy organisation known as Army Ombudsman that gives authorized recommendation to service personnel in disputes with their employer, stated he has obtained tons of of requests for assist from wounded servicemen chasing the funds. “There’s a certain amount of social tension among military personnel” in the direction of authorities in relation to those funds, he stated.

Russia’s defence ministry, well being ministry, and Kremlin didn’t reply to Reuters questions for this text, together with in regards to the cost scheme and the numbers of troopers wounded or killed. Putin in April stated the Russian state wanted to make sure the “implementation of all our commitments for the welfare of service personnel, especially those who sustained injuries.”

5 months after Putin invaded Ukraine, the battle is taking a heavy toll on Russia’s navy in addition to its economic system as a result of worldwide sanctions, based on Ukraine and its Western allies. The USA has estimated that doubtlessly 45,000 Russian troopers have been wounded and round 15,000 killed, which might equal the Soviet loss of life toll in the course of the Soviet-Afghan battle of 1979-1989.

Three of the troopers Reuters spoke to additionally described heavy losses to their models. One, who stated he was as a platoon commander, stated that half of his 200-particular person unit have been killed or wounded over a two-month interval. A soldier in his twenties stated his battalion had initially numbered 700 however by June solely about 100 have been nonetheless match for fight, with the remaining lifeless, injured or refusing to combat. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the accounts.

Russia, which says it’s conducting a particular navy operation in Ukraine, has not launched casualty figures since March 25, when the defence ministry stated there have been 1,351 killed and three,825 wounded. Ukraine has additionally sustained excessive numbers of casualties; Kyiv stated in June that 100 to 200 Ukrainian troops have been being killed per day.

Hospitals are additionally experiencing shortages. Some injured Russian servicemen are arriving at hospitals with out sufficient beds, medical doctors or gear to deal with them correctly, based on two of the troopers and an official concerned in Moscow’s navy operations.


Putin introduced the funds on March 3 throughout a gathering of his safety council broadcast on nationwide tv. Two days later, he issued a decree setting out the compensation, generally referred to amongst troopers as “presidential payments.”

The decree said that anybody who suffered a “concussion, injury, mutilation” whereas serving in Russian safety forces in Ukraine would obtain the three million roubles.

Seven weeks later, on April 22, the defence ministry issued particulars on the cost’s implementation that have been posted on its web site, together with specifying that to be eligible accidents wanted to be amongst these described on an official record.

Sergei Krivenko, head of an advocacy group known as “Citizen. Army. Rights.” that helps troopers combat authorized instances, stated he believed the transfer was prompted by rising prices. “Three million is such a big amount, at the end of the day. And it turned out there were too many people” who have been eligible, he stated. The Kremlin and defence ministry didn’t reply to questions in regards to the motive for the rule change.

One Russian soldier caught out by the change was the one in his twenties who described the losses in his battalion. He stated he was a gunner in an anti-tank unit and served in Ukraine’s Luhansk area, scene of among the heaviest combating. Like different troopers who spoke to Reuters, he requested to stay nameless as a result of he feared punishment for talking to the media.

The soldier, from Southern Russia, stated he and his unit have been on the entrance line in early June when a mortar landed close by and a bit of shrapnel struck his leg. On the navy hospital in Rostov he obtained an official prognosis: shrapnel wound to the tender tissue of his proper decrease leg with harm to the muscle.

At one other navy hospital the place he later had an operation on the wound, a surgeon initially instructed the soldier he can be entitled to the so-known as presidential cost however then modified his view, based on the gunner. He stated the physician instructed him the record of eligible accidents referred to within the April 22 doc embody a ruptured muscle, however the prognosis cited solely muscle harm.

“I was upset, of course,” stated the soldier, including that since April 22 acquiring the cost had “got complicated.” He stated he has since secured a second opinion that confirmed a ruptured-muscle prognosis with the assistance of a lawyer, whom he didn’t title.

The soldier has utilized to the top of his unit for the three million rouble cost, based on a replica of the July utility he shared with Reuters. In late July, he stated he had obtained the cost.

Workers on the hospital the place the soldier stated he had his operation didn’t reply calls positioned by Reuters. Rostov’s navy hospital didn’t reply to a request for touch upon accounts that he and one other soldier gave to Reuters about their medical therapy.

Two different troopers say they too have been instructed by medical doctors their accidents didn’t meet the precise eligibility standards.

A kind of troopers, in his 40s and from central Russia, stated he was serving in a motorised rifle battalion within the Luhansk area when shrapnel from a land mine lodged in his arm. The soldier stated he was despatched to the identical navy hospital in Rostov and put within the ear, nostril and throat division as a result of that was the one place with beds free. “There’s no space, they put you wherever they can,” he stated.

Whereas being handled in hospital, medical doctors instructed him that the so-known as presidential cost was solely being given to individuals with broken or damaged bones or those that had suffered extra extreme accidents. He was instructed his damage concerned “only the soft tissue,” he stated.

He stated he however utilized for the cost and hasn’t obtained a proper response.

Reuters confirmed he served within the Luhansk area and reviewed copies of his medical data, which affirm his title and nature of the damage.

The opposite soldier, from Russia’s North Caucasus area, was shot within the thigh whereas serving in Ukraine in April, based on a doc issued by medical doctors at a navy hospital in the identical area he’s from. The doc, shared with Reuters by a relative, reveals medical doctors said his accidents weren’t included within the record referred to by the defence ministry on April 22.

The relative stated the soldier might enchantment the medical doctors’ choice in order that he can apply for the presidential cost. The hospital didn’t reply to a request for remark.

One other soldier, the platoon commander in his mid 40s from central Russia, stated he determined to not apply for the cost.

He sustained a concussion when his unit got here underneath assault within the Luhansk area however delayed in search of medical consideration as a result of he didn’t need to abandon his males, lots of them fight novices, based on the commander. As soon as he did search therapy at a hospital in japanese Ukraine, he stated, a fellow affected person who was a colonel instructed him he would now not qualify for the cost due to the brand new standards. The record referred to by the defence ministry on April 22 stated concussion would solely be eligible if confirmed by medical doctors inside three days of it taking place.

Reuters independently verified the platoon commander’s identification and that he serves with Russian forces, however wasn’t capable of corroborate his account of his accidents or therapy.

Some troopers haven’t been explicitly instructed they don’t qualify for the cost however have nonetheless struggled to acquire the compensation.

One other man, who stated he was as an infantry soldier from Moscow in his early 20s, instructed Reuters that in early April he’d been close to the Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv when a mortar landed near him, overturning a truck he was unloading and breaking toes on his foot.

He says he utilized in April for the three million-rouble payout and, having obtained no response, additionally wrote to the navy prosecutor asking for an evidence. Reuters has seen a few of his medical notes and a July letter from the navy prosecutor’s workplace stating it had contacted the top of the soldier’s unit asking that the problem be regarded into.

The navy prosecutor’s workplace didn’t reply to questions on whether or not there had been delays and in that case, the explanation for them. A regulation referring to wounded-soldier compensation funds states {that a} accurately-submitted utility ought to obtain a response inside 15 days.

The soldier stated he was nonetheless having hassle together with his foot and had filed a request with commanders of his unit to stop navy service. He stated: “They put the question to me: will you go back again? And I said no.”

(Modifying by Christian Lowe and Cassell Bryan-Low)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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