Buried in a mundane report on army salaries, Delovaya Zhizn (Business Life) noted that family compensation went to the families of 2,000 soldiers killed “taking part in military action in Ukraine.” The information was briefly online before Russian censors detected the fact and took it offline — but not before a Ukraine-based news site detected the admission and cached it online.

That some 2,000 Russian service members have died, all fighting a war that the Kremlin does not acknowledge exists, is a staggering admission of President Vladimir Putin’s commitment to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian war has lasted for exactly 18 months — by comparison, the U.S.’ nearly 14-year involvement in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of 2,154 American soldiers.