Without any concrete, independently verified figure to rely upon to tell the public how much Russian troops had been lost in a month’s worth of fighting in Ukraine, many clues lie between the narratives of war that may just give us a sneak peek of the Russian casualties. Just a few days ago, it was reported that Russia’s intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), had asked their government for more funding.

You would think that the additional funding was for more intel collecting in Ukraine or possibly for more supplies for their troops in Ukraine, but no. Apparently, the FSB had requested money from their government as the fund for their troops’ funeral services were running low.

This would indicate that they needed more funding to give their troops the proper, bare-minimum funeral, which can lead to the conclusion that so many Russian forces have been dying that they are scraping the bottom of their funding barrel. It is also the case that the ruble had been suffering from an accelerated inflation rate of 17.5% because of the sanctions levied on the country.

According to a report by Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, they found a series of Russian public documents that prove the request was indeed legitimate. These documents showed that the FSB had asked for a 17% increase in funding to organize funeral arrangements.

The BBC Russian Service, which was the first to report on the documents, discovered that the Russian government currently spends 28,178 rubles or $350 for a soldier’s funeral services in Moscow and St. Petersburg. If the funeral were to be held in any other part of the country, the fee would be 20,350 rubles or $250.

Apparently, they had requested various increases with regard to different aspects of the funeral. The FSB requested that the overall fee for the funeral services have an increase somewhere between 4,800 rubles or $59 to 6,000 rubles or $73. This increase was because of tombstone purchases. The amount spent with the increases is expected to be raised somewhere between 56,400 rubles to 74,200 rubles depending on the deceased’s rank.

These numbers are not expected to go down soon because of the sanctions levied on Russia. Virtually all goods have risen in price since the implementation of the sanctions. This would include a core component of funerals, which is flowers. According to Radio Free Europe, the prices for imported flowers in Russia rose 40% to 200% in March, making these flowers extremely expensive for funerals.

A group of dead Russian soldiers in Ukraine who have yet to be picked up by Russian forces. Their funerals are yet to be arranged (AFU StratCom). Source: https://www.facebook.com/AFUStratCom/posts/353897406778913
A group of dead Russian soldiers in Ukraine have yet to be picked up by Russian forces. Their funerals are yet to be arranged (AFU StratCom/Facebook).

This report comes after the Kremlin admitted last week that they had suffered significant losses due to the invasion. In an interview with Sky News, Russia’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that “We have significant losses of troops, and it’s a huge tragedy for us.”

Along with these statements, it was also revealed that the Russians have been recruiting individuals from the unrecognized region of Transnistria in Moldova and calling up their retired veterans to fight in Ukraine. Furthermore, reports of fighters from Syria had also been recruited to bolster their numbers.

However, he did not specify the number of casualties as they were not “double confirmed.” In a seemingly confused fashion, he also claimed that there was “a wrong understanding of what was going on” when Peskov was asked about Russia’s tank and troop losses. He later claimed that retreating was a sign of “goodwill” from their end when in reality, they were still bombing civilians during this so-called “retreat.”

In the last week of March, SOFREP’s Guy McCardle wrote about how the Russians deployed mobile crematoriums to Ukraine. These crematoriums were presumably used to dispose of their losses for various reasons: 1. To hide the actual number of Russian troops who died, 2. To save up on time and transport costs to get the body home to Russia, and 3. To hide civilian killings in places that they occupied. With the rising prices of funerals, it would not be farfetched to assume that the Russians may just be cremating their soldiers to save a few extra bucks.

“Using crematoriums also means the Russians can fudge identifying the bodies for the families.  In the prior invasion of Ukraine’s Eastern regions, hundreds of Russian soldiers lie in unmarked graves in the country in order to avoid public funerals by their families in Russia,” McCardle explained.

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In contrast, the US makes every effort to try and get their servicemen’s bodies home so that they can get a proper funeral.

The increasing number of funerals in Russia will not likely stop. It would make those who arrange these funerals substantially richer, as the Ukrainian media and Defense Ministry claimed that they killed some 20,000 soldiers during the invasion. This number also includes the ridiculous amount of high-ranking military officers they have been losing on the field in what is arguably the worst performance of the Russian forces in combat.

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