Russia has acknowledged the deaths of several of its conscripts in Ukraine, just days after arriving from Chelyabinsk Region to fight in its ongoing, unprovoked war on its neighbour. Russian media reports, citing relatives and close friends of the dead, confirmed that these soldiers were sent to the front without any training.

The BBC Russian Service identified three of the five soldiers as Anton Borisov, Igor Yevseev and Timur Akhmetshin.  They were conscripted in the last week of September. Just days later, on Oct. 3, they found themselves near Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. From there, they were transferred to Kherson Region. But their relatives had received the first death notifications by Oct. 9.

The Chelyabinsk authorities confirmed on Oct. 13 that the five had been killed. This is the first instance of local officials acknowledging the death of their mobilized residents.

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BBC Russian Service journalists were able to listen to a telephone call between a wounded Chelyabinsk conscript who was being treated in hospital and his companion who was about to be deployed to the front. The first speaker gave an account of how the other five Chelyabinsk conscripts were killed in battle.

We got there the first day, having never fired a shot — and they sent us, like cannon fodder, straight to an assault unit, with two grenade launchers. I had at least read the instructions on how to use them. On the third day we retreated, rested at night, then went ahead and took our positions in the trenches, he said.

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Timur Akhmetshin, according to a second recorded conversation that the BBC was able to obtain, was killed on Oct. 7 when the Russian side began an offensive.

All the injured were taken by helicopter from Nova Kakhovka in Kherson Region to Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea.

The corpses of the troops are due to arrive in Chelyabinsk on Oct. 14–15.

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