By Thomas Grove and Maria Tsvetkova

MOSCOW 2014 (Reuters) – Late last month Yelena Tumanova was handed the body of her son in a coffin at her home in Russia’s Western Volga region. Anton Tumanov was 20 and a soldier serving in the Russian army in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya. The documents Yelena Tumanova was given with the body raised more questions than they answered – questions about how her son died and about the Russian government’s denials that its troops are in Ukraine. The records do not show Anton Tumanov’s place of death, said human rights activists who spoke to his mother after she got in touch with them.

“Medical documents said there were shrapnel wounds, that is he died from a loss of blood, but how it happened and where were not indicated,” said Sergei Krivenko, who heads a commission on military affairs on Russia’s presidential human rights council.

Yelena Tumanova could not be reached for comment and Reuters was unable to review the documents. But more than 10 soldiers in her dead son’s unit told Krivenko and Ella Polyakova, another member of the presidential human rights council, that Anton Tumanov died in an Aug. 13 battle near the Ukrainian town of Snizhnye. The battle, the soldiers said, killed more than 100 Russian soldiers serving in the 18th motorized rifle brigade of military unit 27777, which is based outside the Chechen capital of Grozny.

Rolan, 23, a fellow soldier who served with Tumanov, told Reuters that his comrade died on the operating table after he was hit by shrapnel from rockets. Rolan said he was steps away in an armored personnel carrier when the rockets struck. He said two in his group died, including another soldier, named Robert.

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Source: image: Reuters


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