Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian forces are carrying mobile cremation chambers for their dead to obscure the true number of Russians who've died thus far in the war that erupted last week after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine.
Zelenskyy suggested that Russian authorities are purposely not keeping track of their dead and expressed concern that young Russians are being used as "cannon fodder," calling it "inhumane."
You can hear what Zelenskyy said in the video below.
Noting that a large number of Russians have died in shellings, Zelenskyy lamented that Russian soldiers have been sent to die in an unncessary conflict
“No one is counting them. No one cares how many die in the shellings. They knew in advance they were not going to show to their families, to their mothers, what happened to their children, that they died here."
"They came here to kill us, and we are defending our freedom and our homes, and that’s why they’re dying. We don’t want to kill them.”
Zelenskyy's remarks come amid heightened interest in the condition of Russian troops as graphic photos and videos of dead Russian soldiers abandoned on the roads continue to circulate across social media. Previously, The Telegraph reported that Russian forces expected to use mobile crematoriums on the battlefield.
Meanwhile, Putin for the first time publicly recognized families of fallen soldiers, pledging to grant them 5 million rubles (roughly $50,000 USD) in restitution. However, he has continued to downplay the severity of the conflict and Western estimates suggest the number of Russian dead is far higher than the nearly 500 deaths and 1,600 injuries Russia's Defense Ministry has openly acknowledged.
Zelenskyy's statements have served to further humanize the scale of the conflict and many have lamented its needlessness while openly criticizing Putin.
Ukraine has sought to publicize the Russian death toll as the Russian government attempts to silence thousands of protesters who've taken to the streets to condemn a war that many average Russians had initially believed would not take place.
The Russian public's disdain for the war has contributed to a morale problem among Russian forces. Russian authorities have detained more than 7,000 people so far for protesting the war.
Amid the controversy, jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, Putin's most well-known foe, has urged Russians to protest the war in Russian cities and around the world, saying that to give in to fear of reprisals "is to side with fascists and murderers."