Russian journalist says families are pressured not to talk about their relatives killed in Ukraine, local papers don’t report their deaths
Bill Bostock – March 30, 2022
- A Russian journalist says families are told to supress news of military relatives killed in Ukraine.
- “They say, now there is no need to make a fuss,” the Siberian journalist told the BBC.
- Russian state-run media is heavily censoring news of the invasion and is painting it as a success.
A Russian journalist says families of soldiers killed in Ukraine are being told to keep silent about it, and that newspapers are told not to report fatalities.
“All local media outlets were instructed by regional government not to publish any data on losses in Ukraine,” the journalist, who works in the Siberia region, told BBC World correspondent Olga Ivshina.
The journalist said that “there are cases when local officials put pressure on the relatives of the victims, ordering them to stay silent,” according to Ivshina.
“They say, now there is no need to make a fuss, we will find a way to commemorate your boys later.”
After weeks without addressing losses in Ukraine, Russia said last week that 1,351 of its soldiers had died in the offensive.
Its total was vastly less than the numbers Ukraine says it has killed. A NATO official estimated that a more accurate estimate was between 7,000 and 15,000.
According to Ivshina, Russian journalists are also being targeted for reporting on war deaths.
“There is evidence of growing pressure on local journalists in Russia who report on the military losses – some of the earlier publications about soldiers killed in action were deleted. Sometimes it happens in a day or two, sometimes within an hour,” she tweeted.
Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, recently said that Russia was refusing to provide Ukraine with lists of missing Russian troops so that their bodies can be returned, the Guardian reported.
“The Russian authorities don’t want these bodies,” she said.
Russia has also been accused of using mobile crematorium chambers to conceal the true number of troops killed in the Ukraine conflict.
“These guys are carrying those cremation chambers for themselves,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said earlier this month, without providing evidence.
Russian state-run media is painting the invasion of Ukraine, which it calls a “special military operation,” as a success and news of the war is being heavily censored.
However, some journalists are breaking step.
Russian state TV editor Marina Ovsyannikova stormed a live Channel One news broadcast with an anti-war protest sign earlier this month and her colleague Zhanna Agalakova recently publicly resigned over the war.
Top officials from Ukraine and Russia met for peace talks in Turkey on Tuesday, with Ukraine saying it is open to declaring neutral status to end the war.