Russia Confirms Death of Five Soldiers Drafted to Ukraine

Five Russians drafted to fight in Ukraine following a “partial” mobilization order from President Vladimir Putin have died since joining the army, authorities said Thursday, without disclosing the location of the deaths.

Five people from the poor, industrial Chelyabinsk region in Western Siberia have died since their call-up, the press service of the regional government said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

“We will provide all the necessary assistance to the family and loved ones of our fallen soldiers,” it said, promising a pay-out of one million rubles ($15,800) for each soldier.

On Wednesday, Russian lawmaker Maxim Ivanov, who is overseeing the mobilization in the region, said that a mobilized man from Chelyabinsk region had died of a drug “overdose” while he was at a training center.

Since Putin announced the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of reservists on September 21, Russian media and local officials have repeatedly reported the deaths of mobilized soldiers, mainly in the central Urals region and in Siberia.

On October 3, Ivanov said three mobilized soldiers had died at a military base in Sverdlovsk region, central Russia.

According to Ivanov, one died from a heart attack, another committed suicide and the third died of alcohol-related liver cirrhosis after he was sent home.

The Kremlin has acknowledged “errors” were made during the mobilization, following reports of people who were not eligible, including students and elderly or infirm people, receiving summons.

Last week, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that over 200,000 people had been conscripted into the Russian army in two weeks to fight in Ukraine, where Russia’s forces are suffering major setbacks from a recent Ukrainian counter-offensive.

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