Events moved fast in Eastern Europe after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on the Ukraine.
Even before Sunday’s dramatic escalation with Putin’s order to put Russian nuclear forces on high alert, video clips from the unfolding conflict captured world attention on internet news and social media sites. Footage of explosions, missile barrages, tanks and helicopters showed the intensity of the fighting.
However, the world may never know how many lives were lost. The defense minister of the United Kingdom told the U.K. Telegraph last week that the Russian military may deploy mobile crematoriums to destroy the remains of soldiers killed in action.
The Telegraph shared a 2013 video provided by the British Ministry of Defense. The video demonstrated the device in action.
The silent images showed a bag of unknown material being loaded into a metal cylinder mounted inside of a truck. A worker adjusted controls that activated intense flames inside the cylinder.
Captions added to the video explained, “Defense Secretary Ben Wallace suggests Russia could use these mobile units to avoid sending body bags back home.”
In The Telegraph’s report, Wallace commented on the impacts on morale the practice might cause.
“If I was a soldier and knew that my generals had so little faith in me that they followed me around the battlefield in a mobile crematorium, or I was the mother or father of a son, potentially deployed into a combat zone, and my government thought that the way to cover up loss was a mobile crematorium, I’d be deeply, deeply worried,” he said.
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Wallace said the way the Russian regime viewed its own soldiers was chilling.
The video does not show the mobile crematorium in military action.
Still, it is easy to see how such an incinerator could be used for sinister purposes. An army could treat casualties not as brave warriors, but as evidence to be eliminated. Crematoriums could be used not only on the Russian militar’s own fallen soldiers, but also for opposing forces, or even civilians.
Early Sunday, Reuters reported that at least 64 civilians had been killed in the fighting since Russian troops entered Ukraine last week.
Those numbers — not to mention military casualties — will only increase. Ukraine is outmatched in the war. Russia is rated to have a military second only the United States, whereas Ukraine’s forces are ranked as the 22nd most powerful in the world.
After only one day, Russia presented terms for Ukraine’s surrender. The demands are for Ukraine to remain officially neutral, and give up foreign arms.
These moves would leave Ukraine friendless and weak before the aggressive Russians, but have been roundly rejected by the Ukraine government of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
On Sunday, according to Fox News, Zelenskyy demanded Russia’s ejection from the United Nations Security Council, the international organization’s top decision-making body.
So, as of Sunday, the fighting is continuing.
If the reports of the battlefield crematoriums are true, the world may never know how high the cost of the Ukraine resistance was.