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Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers: Russian troops redeployed to Ukraine without proper medical care, shrapnel wounds and punctured lungs

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Wounded Russian servicemen are being returned to the front line in Ukraine with serious injuries and without the approval of military medical commissions, which are required by law, reported independent media outlet Agentstvo (“Agency”) citing Valentina Melnikova of the Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers. Melnikova told the outlet of several cases of soldiers being sent back to fight with punctured lungs or shrapnel in their limbs.

According to Melnikova, after receiving treatment in hospitals, the servicemen learned from their commanders that they would be sent back to the war zone without the approval of a medical commission. The human rights activist said that these were not isolated cases, but rather the destruction of an entire system where doctors determined soldiers’ fitness for military service. According to the Union, there are “an unacceptable number of such cases”.

The organization also knows of cases when patients with ulcers and people who had heart attacks or strokes before they were drafted into the army were sent to fight. According to Melnikova, people with these types of illnesses cannot take part in combat or armed conflict.

Director of human rights group “Citizen. Army. Law” (“Grazhdanin. Armiya. Pravo”) Sergey Krivenko confirmed that it is illegal to send a soldier to the front without a prior examination by a medical commission. He recommended that soldiers not leave for the combat zone in such cases and write a report to their superiors.

Nikifor Ivanov, representative of the Agora human rights group, told Agentstvo that the departments refusing to send soldiers to medical examinations may be saving money on future compensation payments. Medical commissions, among other things, determine whether a combat wound was the cause of serious injuries and chronic diseases, which could lead to monetary compensations from the state.

On January 10, Russian Human Rights Committee member Olga Demicheva told state-owned news outlet RIA Novosti that doctors from two hospitals in Moscow and Donetsk complained that military personnel were being returned to the combat zone without being fully rehabilitated. “As a result, the treatments they received are simply wasted, and instead of healthy people we may get disabled people. This is an issue we have already taken up and will address,” Demicheva said.

According to Russian law, a military medical commission has to assign a wounded soldier one of two categories: category “G” / “Г” (needs treatment, temporarily unfit) or “D” / “Д” (unfit for service, must be removed from military register). During wartime, the examination has to take place after a wounded soldier goes through inpatient treatment – regardless of how long the treatment lasted.

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