INSIGHT-Some wounded Russian troopers discover compensation elusive, regardless of Putin’s pledge

By Maria Tsvetkova

ISTANBUL, July 29 (Reuters) – Every week into Moscow’s warfare in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a gesture of solidarity along 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 obligation to help the households of our fallen and injured warfare 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 isn’t as beneficiant because it initially appeared. Reuters has discovered that some injured troopers – together with these with vital wounds – are struggling to acquire the compensation, primarily based 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-noticed clarification to the principles has narrowed the factors for eligibility; others face bureaucratic obstacles or delays in getting purposes accepted.

Maxim Grebenyuk, a lawyer who runs a Moscow-based advocacy organisation known as Army Ombudsman that gives authorized recommendation to service personnel in disputes with their employer, stated he has obtained lots of of requests for assist from wounded servicemen chasing the funds. “There’s a certain quantity of social stress amongst navy personnel” in 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, particularly those that sustained accidents.”

5 months after Putin invaded Ukraine, the battle is taking a heavy toll on Russia’s navy in addition to its economic system on account of worldwide sanctions, in accordance with 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 warfare of 1979-1989.

Three of the troopers Reuters spoke to additionally described heavy losses to their items. One, who stated he was as a platoon commander, stated that half of his 200-person unit had 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 had been nonetheless match for fight, with the remainder lifeless, injured or refusing to battle. 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 had 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 tools to deal with them correctly, in accordance with 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 funds.”

The decree acknowledged that anybody who suffered a “concussion, harm, 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 had been posted on its web site, together with specifying that to be eligible accidents wanted to be amongst these described on an official listing.

Sergei Krivenko, head of an advocacy group known as “Citizen. Army. Rights.” that helps troopers battle authorized instances, stated he believed the transfer was prompted by rising prices. “Three million is such an enormous quantity, on the finish of the day. And it turned on the market had been too many individuals” who had been eligible, he stated. The Kremlin and defence ministry didn’t reply to questions in regards to the purpose 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 preventing. 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 had 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 analysis: shrapnel wound to the mushy tissue of his proper decrease leg with injury to the muscle.

At one other navy hospital the place he later had an operation on the wound, a surgeon initially informed the soldier he could be entitled to the so-called presidential cost however then modified his view, in accordance with the gunner. He stated the physician informed him the listing of eligible accidents referred to within the April 22 doc embody a ruptured muscle, however the analysis cited solely muscle injury.

“I used to be upset, in fact,” stated the soldier, including that since April 22 acquiring the cost had “received sophisticated.” He stated he has since secured a second opinion that confirmed a ruptured-muscle analysis with the assistance of a lawyer, whom he didn’t title.

The soldier has utilized to the pinnacle of his unit for the three million rouble cost, in accordance with a duplicate of the July utility he shared with Reuters. In late July, he stated he had obtained the cost.

Employees 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 informed by medical doctors their accidents didn’t meet the precise eligibility standards.

A type 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 house, they put you wherever they will,” he stated.

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

He stated he nonetheless 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 information, which verify his title and nature of the harm.

The opposite soldier, from Russia’s North Caucasus area, was shot within the thigh whereas serving in Ukraine in April, in accordance with 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 acknowledged his accidents weren’t included within the listing referred to by the defence ministry on April 22.

The relative stated the soldier could attraction the medical doctors’ determination 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 searching for medical consideration as a result of he didn’t need to abandon his males, lots of them fight novices, in accordance with 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 informed him he would now not qualify for the cost due to the brand new standards. The listing 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 in a position to corroborate his account of his accidents or therapy.


Some troopers haven’t been explicitly informed 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, informed 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 pinnacle of the soldier’s unit asking that the difficulty be seemed into.

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

The soldier stated he was nonetheless having hassle along with his foot and had filed a request with commanders of his unit to give up navy service. He stated: “They put the query to me: will you return once more? And I stated no.”

(Enhancing by Christian Lowe and Cassell Bryan-Low)

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