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Human rights groups have long pointed out that the most impoverished regions of Russia are paying the highest price for the war in Ukraine. Now, some of those caught up in this war are speaking out for themselves.
One hundred fifty Buryat soldiers terminated their military contracts earlier this month, according to members of the Free Buryatia Foundation, a pro-democracy group based in the United States and representing its constituency from abroad.
A group of wives and mothers of the soldiers recorded a video appeal to the governor of Buryatia to let the servicemen return home. The video caused a stir and was quickly taken down by its intimidated producers.
But the men reportedly made it home after a detour to a closed military facility in Luhansk for some days. Still, the fact that the soldiers are back may be giving other groups hope that they too can recall their families.