Cargo 200 (code name)

Cargo 200 (Russian: Груз 200, Gruz dvésti) is a military code word used in the Soviet Union and the post-Soviet states referring to the transportation of military fatalities.[1][2][3][4] Officially, the term Cargo 200 is military jargon to refer specifically to the corpses of soldiers contained in zinc-lined coffins for air transportation. Unofficially, Cargo 200 is used to refer to all bodies of the dead being transported away from the battlefield, and has also become a euphemism for irreversible losses of manpower in a conflict.


The first appearance of Cargo 200 is unknown, except that it came into use in the mid-1980s during the Soviet–Afghan War. The main theory of the term's origin is the Ministry of Defense of the USSR Order No. 200, issued during the on October 8, 1984, coincidentally setting the standardized maximum weight for the air transportation of a deceased soldier's body at 200 kilograms (440 lb). The term saw widespread use in the Soviet military by the late 1980s, spawning the related code words Cargo 300 for the transportation of wounded personnel, and Cargo 100 for the transportation of munitions.

Modern usageEdit

The term Cargo 200 has received new international attention since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014.[3] As of October 2016, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has after two and a half years, despite their limited access to the Donbas war conflict zone, counted more than 20 vehicles with a “Cargo 200” inscription used to transport bodies of deceased Russian mercenaries and soldiers from Donbas.[citation needed] Cargo 200 was referenced by the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs in the name of their website used to publicize Russian personnel killed and captured during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[5][6][7]

Related military code wordsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Brooke, James (18 October 2011). "Russian Killings of Tajik Migrant Workers — Now at a Level with American Lynchings in the 1930s?". Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  2. ^ ТУРЧЕНКОВА, Мария (3 June 2014). "Груз 200. Продолжение" [Cargo 200. Continued]. Novaya Gazeta (in Russian). Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Ukraine crisis: Russian 'Cargo 200' crossed border - OSCE". BBC News Online. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Місія «Евакуація 200" [Mission "Evacuation 200"]. (in Ukrainian). 22 March 2015. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Ukraine Launches Website for Russians to Find Killed Soldiers". The Moscow Times. February 27, 2022.
  6. ^ "Website launched for Russians to find family members captured in killed in action during the invasion of Ukraine". Ukrayinska Pravda.
  7. ^ "Ukraine launches website to help Russian families find their relatives killed in combat". The Kyiv Independent. February 27, 2022.