The bitter conflict in Ukraine has cost thousands of lives, but the Russian government has continuously denied sending its soldiers to the frontlines, despite accusations to the contrary from NATO and Western officials.

VICE News travels to Russia to investigate the mysterious deaths of dozens — possibly hundreds — of active-duty Russian servicemen who are believed to have been killed in Ukraine. Accounts gathered from soldiers' families, human rights workers, and government officials cast doubt on the Kremlin narrative, revealing the unacknowledged sacrifices borne by Russia's ghost army.

In part one of a three part series, VICE News travels to Russia to investigate the small but steady stream of coffins arriving in villages across the country, containing maimed bodies of soldiers killed in "unknown circumstances."

Watch Part Two of "Russia's Ghost Army in Ukraine"

Watch "Civilians Return to Debaltseve: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 96)"

Watch "The Ruins of Donetsk Airport: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 95)"

Read "Russian Newspaper to Release Document That Allegedly Links Kremlin to Ukraine Invasion"

Read "Thousands Mourn Boris Nemtsov at Somber March in Moscow"