On March 2, 2015, US Army Europe Commander Ben Hodges estimated that twelve thousand Russian soldiers, including “military advisers, weapons operators, and combat troops” are active in eastern Ukraine.49
There have been hundreds, likely thousands, of Russian citizens who have voluntarily crossed the border into Ukraine on their own accord. Putin has confirmed this, and many eager Russians even filled out online applications to join the separatist ranks—that is how easy it is to become a separatist fighter in Ukraine.50
What the Russian government denies is that regular Russian soldiers are fighting and dying throughout eastern Ukraine. However, the...