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Russia has admitted to losing its first GRU military intelligence spy in the war in Ukraine, but is still hiding ‘thousands’ of losses from those back at home.
Captain Alexey Glushchak, 31, from Tyumen in Siberia, died in the carnage in Ukrainian port Mariupol, but the Russians have given no details of how he was killed.
‘Due to the strict secrecy of the military operation, the circumstances of the death of the Tyumen hero are not disclosed,’ said a statement.
Pictures emerged of father-of-one Glushchak’s funeral in Russia, where he was buried with full military honours from a guard of honour.
The funeral of Captain Alexey Glushchak, a military intelligence officer with Russia’s GRU spy agency, is pictured taking place
Glushchak was killed fighting near Mariupol, the Russian military said, as it acknowledges losing a GRU officer for the first time
On the day the military intelligence officer died he had spoken to both his wife and mother in Russia, it was revealed.
He called to congratulate them on International Women’s Day but on the same day in the evening they learned he had been killed.
He will be posthumously decorated.
Two elite paratrooper intelligence officers were also revealed to have been killed as the toll worsens for Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Georgy Dudorov, deputy commander of the reconnaissance company for the 137th regiment of the 106th Tula Guards Airborne Division, was acknowledged as dead.
Another paratrooper intelligence officer killed was Aleksey Aleshko, a graduate of the prestigious Ryazan Guards Higher Airborne School.
Their deaths coincide with the first expressions of anger and dismay on the toll of coffins now returning to Russia.
It is not clear exactly when Glushchak (pictured) died, though it is thought to be in early stages of the fighting
Accurate numbers of Russian troops killed in fighting are hard to come by. Ukraine claims 12,000 have been killed, but has not updated that figure for several days.
European and American estimates are lower – between 2,000 and 6,000 – while Russia has only acknowledged around 500 deaths.
The GRU was behind the poisoning with Novichok of its former spy Sergei Skripal – who had defected to Britain – in Salisbury.
Moscow has given no up-to-date total of those killed in the war, and named only a handful of the fallen, which include several generals.
Many funerals currently visible in the media are for soldiers slain at the end of February.
Russia is taking two weeks or more to transport their bodies back to relatives, many of whom live in the Russian Far East thousands of miles from the bloody war zone.
The pain is evident in an increasing number of hostile and anguished posts.
‘When will this stop, we are seeing coffins almost daily?’ said one.
‘Why did we need to send our boys into this hell?’ asked another.
A funeral was also held for Corporal Danil Novolodsky, 24, a senior gunner on an air assault artillery battery.
Glushchak’s portrait is pictured laying on top of his coffin along with military awards he had been given, as Russia’s death toll from 18 days of fighting in Ukraine mounts
Despite Moscow acknowledging taking losses in Ukraine, it is thought to be hiding ‘thousands’ of deaths from its own people (pictured, Glushchak’s funeral)
He was awarded the Order of Courage under a decree signed by Vladimir Putin.
He was from Ulan-Ude, capital of the republic of Buryatia in Siberia, a mainly Buddhist region, which has suffered a disproportionate number of fatalities among Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine.
Ahead of the invasion, tens of thousands of troops were sent west on the Trans-Siberian Railway to fight in the coming war.
Another funeral from the same region was held for Vladimir Plekhanov, 24, an orphan raised by a living foster family.
Sagyndyk Kudaibergenov, 22, from Tyumen, like the GRU agent , was buried with military honours, say reports.
He was killed in mortar fire while deploying communications equipment across a river.
He was killed on 26 February but his funeral was only on 11 March.
Source: Daily Mail