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Vladimir Putin has awarded an Order of Courage to a murderer after his gang reportedly killed five people in Russia's war against Ukraine.
The Russian president, 69, bestowed the honour upon Ivan Neparatov, 34, who was around halfway through a 25-year prison sentence when he enlisted for the war.
Neparatov was said to have been "quickly liquidated" after becoming one of the thousands of criminals released from prison to be sent to fight for Russia on the frontlines.
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Putin has come under criticism for his usage of murderers and rapists as soldiers who are placed on the front line and contribute to their high death rate.
As well as being presented with the prestigious Order of Courage, the killer was rewarded for a second time, earning the "for blood and courage" award which was given to him by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.
The 34-year-old had committed his crimes as part of a gang, an eighth of whom were ultimately imprisoned as they reportedly wore police uniforms and masks while they carried out their crimes.
Neparatov's death certificate revealed that he passed away at the beginning of August due to a "gunshot explosive shrapnel penetrating wound to the head" in Artemovsk, Donetsk.
The non-governmental organisation Russia Behind Bars revealed that as many as 20% of some prison populations are given two weeks' worth of training before being sent to the frontlines.
Olga Romanova said: "Approximately 20% of the prison population is recruited – if there are 1,300 people in prison, 300 are recruited.
"They are not taken out all at once, they take out several squads of 50-60 people at a time."
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According to the Metro, a payment of £3,000 is paid to those who fight for the Russian army while families who lose their loved ones during war receive a pay-out of £64,000.
"They explain it by their desire to have an amnesty and live normally after coming back, for the sake of their families and their children," a relative said.
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- Vladimir Putin
- Russia Ukraine war
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