Moscow has spent more than 53 billion rubles (€920m) supplying a separatist rebellion in east Ukraine and at least 220 Russian soldiers have been killed there, a report by Russian opposition activists said.
The report was the last project of murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, who used open source information and interviews with families to paint a picture contradicting Moscow’s argument that no serving Russian troops are fighting in Ukraine.
Nemtsov was shot dead in Moscow in February and members of his party, the liberal RPR-Parnas, and several opposition journalists helped with the 65-page report.
A Kremlin spokesman declined to comment on the report, saying he was not familiar with it and could not say if Russian President Vladimir Putin would look into it. Ilya Yashin, who was an aide to Nemtsov, accused Putin of lying to Russians by waging the war amid denials of involvement.
“The war with Ukraine is an undeclared war, a vile cynical war which amounts to a crime against all of the Russian nation. Putin will go down in history as the president who made Russians and Ukrainians foes,” he told a news conference.
The West accuses Russia of providing arms and troops to the separatists fighting government troops, as well as giving them training and intelligence. It stepped up sanctions on Moscow over the conflict, which has killed more than 6,100 people.
The West first imposed sanctions on Russian businessmen and officials after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014, before unrest spread to the east of the country.
The report, which Nemtsov started after families of Russian troops killed in east Ukraine asked for his help, said at least 150 Russian servicemen were killed in fighting around the village of Ilovaisk and elsewhere in the area last summer.
At least 70 Russian soldiers were killed in clashes around Debaltseve earlier this year, the report said.
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