'At least 220 Russian troops' killed in Ukraine fighting
At least 220 Russian soldiers have died fighting in Ukraine despite the Kremlin's denial that it has sent troops there, according to a new report started by the murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov.
Allies of the slain opposition leader said yesterday they believed they had conclusive evidence of the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine, as they released completed research begun by Mr Nemtsov before his death in February.
"All key military successes of the separatists were ensured by regular Russian army contingents," said Ilya Yashin, an opposition activist and one of the authors of the report, called 'Putin: War'.
Mr Nemtsov (55) was shot dead on a bridge near the Kremlin as he walked home with his girlfriend. Two alleged hitmen have been charged with his assassination but the person who ordered the murder has not been identified.
At the time of his death, the former deputy prime minister was working on the report about the role of Russian troops in the war in Donbas, or eastern Ukraine.
His allies in Russia's opposition movement believe his research may have been a motivation for his killing, although there are several other theories.
Numerous media outlets have already reported details of Russian regular troops making incursions into Donbas over the last year to fight Ukrainian government forces and provide support to pro-Moscow militia.
Russian president Vladimir Putin denies that Russian soldiers on active duty have crossed the border, saying that any who have entered the conflict zone have done so as volunteers while on holiday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)