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12:o2 a.m.: The first time that Vitaly Votanovsky was contacted to find out the fate of someone fighting in Ukraine for the notorious Wagner mercenary company was in November 2022.
He received a Telegram message from the aunt of 22-year-old Andrei Kargin saying that she hadn’t heard from her nephew for months since he deployed to Ukraine as part of the Russian group, and she was beginning to wonder what fate he had met.
She had filled out all the necessary paperwork to be contacted in the event of his death, but had received no word from Wagner.
Since then, Votanovsky has been contacted by numerous families about the fate of their relatives fighting as mercenaries for Wagner in Ukraine.
Since he began began tracking the graves of those killed in Ukraine, he’s found relatives for families across southern Russia and even as far away as Belarus and Kazakhstan. In most cases, the families had not been informed of the deaths and only discovered that their relatives were no longer alive after someone came across one of Votanovsky’s photos on his Telegram channel.