The Kremlin received nearly 42,000 complaints in April from relatives of missing soldiers in Ukraine, according to investigative outlet iStories reported Thursday
Official data revealed that President Vladimir Putin’s administration received 41,666 inquiries about missing or captured soldiers.
The Russian government has not released any official figures on its death toll in Ukraine since March 25, when it said 1,351 men had died in the conflict.
An independent investigation by iStories has since put the toll at more than 3,000, based on publicly available data from local authorities and social media.
“The types of people who write to the president are usually loyal, but apolitical,” Abbas Gallyamov, a political consultant and former Putin speechwriter, told iStories.
“They are ordinary people…with a traditional mentality and belief in a benevolent, patriarchal Tsar.”
Gallyamov suggested the figure only represents some of the family members currently searching for missing or captured soldiers.
“Most of them don’t write to anyone, they don’t really believe the authorities will do anything good for them,” he says.
The Kremlin data did not indicate how many complaints had been dealt with, or whether definitive answers had been provided to those affected.
Ukraine said it was holding around 600 Russian POWs in early April. According to Kyiv, more than 400 soldiers have so far been exchanged with Moscow in 14 prisoner exchanges. Moscow has not released its own figures.
A leading soldiers’ rights organization, the Union of Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia, said it had received “several hundred” requests for information about missing servicemen.