Putin Signs Decree to Hide Russian Military Deaths in ‘Special Operations’

Reuters/Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

An article by Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin has triggered wide disparagement from Moscow, where officials implied all involved in the publication of a piece reporting that Russia was using mobile crematoriums to erase the presence of soldiers in east Ukraine needed mental help. A day later, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that makes all Russian soldiers’s deaths a state secret, even in a time of peace.

The State Department immediately condemned the move, claiming it is “a clear attempt by Moscow to hide the deaths of Russian soldiers during clandestine operations inside eastern Ukraine.”

“We see this as a misplaced effort to cover up what everyone knows and that is that Russian active-duty military personnel are fighting and dying in eastern Ukraine and that the Russian government is denying it,” asserted department spokesman Jeff Rathke.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin reported that House Armed Services Committee Chairman Marc Thornberry told him the Russians use mobile crematoriums to incinerate dead soldiers to hide their involvement in east Ukraine.

“The Russians are trying to hide their casualties by taking mobile crematoriums with them,” he declared. “They are trying to hide not only from the world but from the Russian people their involvement.”

Thornberry insists he viewed evidence of the crematoriums, but did not show anything to Bloomberg.

“What we have heard from the Ukrainians, they are largely supported by U.S. intelligence and others,” he continued.

Russia’s Defense Ministry actually said Thornberry should “get some psychiatric help.”

“It’s hard to say what tick has bitten Congressman Thornberry that he talks such rubbish seriously, and even exaggerates its importance, referring to some ‘secret sources’ that allegedly confirmed it,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov also questioned Thornberry and Rogin’s mental health.

“Frankly speaking, I doubt that these statements are trustworthy,” he said. “Of course, such allegations cast doubt that those who have published them are sane.”

A mountain of evidence contradicts all Russian denials about involvement in Ukraine. Russia invaded Ukraine in March 2014 after the new Ukrainian parliament ousted Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovych. “Little Green Men” appeared everywhere in Crimea when the peninsula allegedly declared independence from Ukraine. In mid-March, a referendum supposedly showed over 90 percent of Crimeans wanted to join the Russian Federation. Then, on the day of the Ukrainian presidential election, reporters witnessed Russians and Chechens in east Ukraine. Despite the evidence, Russia still denies the existence of Russian soldiers in the east.

In a documentary, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Moscow was behind the uprising in Crimea and discussed plans to rescue Yanukovych. The European Union finally acknowledged Russia sent soldiers to Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry confessed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov duped him numerous times and Russian propaganda worked on him.

In September, LiveLeak published a video of a mobile crematorium:

Theres too many dead russian soldiers, they say its cheaper to cremate them in Ukraine then to ship the corpses back to motherland where the mourning relatives can start protesting against the invasion. Thats bad publicity for the regime.

Video features the all new handy-dandy mobile animal waste cremation unit IN-50.1K, the same model that [Russian Prime Minister] Dmitry Medvedev approved.

Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), announced the presence of these trucks on Ukrainian television in January. He said the trucks arrived in east Ukraine “by the order of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.” Witnesses spotted the trucks in Rostov near the border.

“Each of these crematoriums burns 8-10 bodies per day,” he exclaimed. “Every day, the hotline of the Security Service of Ukraine records a great of number [sic] of calls from dozens of Russian citizens who are looking for their relatives or Russian soldiers who have been sent to the territory of Ukraine. The Ukrainian government will be humane and will return the bodies of the Russian soldiers to their mothers with all documents and personal effects. A few days ago the SBU publicly expressed its readiness to hand over to the Russian side the body of a Russian citizen Andrei Emelianov.”

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) visited Ukraine with Thornberry. He tweeted about the crematoriums but did not elaborate. He insists the evidence is provided by more sources other than the Ukrainian government.

“We heard this from a variety of sources over there, enough that I was confident in the veracity of the information,” he stated.