Putin with Russian wives who lost or are missing sons fighting in Ukraine
Photo: Alexander Shcherbak / AP
More than nine months ago, Vladimir Putin and his army invaded Ukraine.
And on Sunday Mother's Day is celebrated in Russia.
The Kremlin chief took this as an opportunity to meet mothers of killed soldiers who are currently fighting.
Russian state media released a short video on Friday showing Putin receiving and handing coffee cups to more than a dozen selected women at his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo near Moscow.
"I want you to know that we share this pain with you and that we will of course do everything we can to ensure that you do not feel forgotten," Putin said at the meeting addressing the families of the dead.
"We're doing everything we can to make you feel a shoulder by your side."
According to official information, 17 women traveled from various Russian regions and from areas of eastern Ukraine illegally annexed by Moscow.
From Putin's speech it emerged that among them were mothers of men who are currently fighting in the neighboring country.
Opposition media pointed out that primarily representatives of organizations close to the Kremlin had been invited.
Putin told the mother of a soldier killed in eastern Ukraine in 2019 that he knew what he gave his life for.
In Russia there are around 30,000 road deaths and just as many deaths from alcohol every year.
»The important thing is that we are all mortal, that we are in God's hands and will eventually pass away from this world.
The question is how we lived,” the agency Tass quoted the head of the Kremlin as saying.
'And her son lived.
He reached his goal."
In the face of military defeats, around 300,000 reservists have been called up for the fighting in Ukraine on Putin's orders since the end of September.
The partial mobilization proved to be an extremely unpopular measure and triggered a mass exodus in Russia and the largest anti-war protests in months.
The demonstrations were often organized by women.
Putin accuses West
Critics complain that the Kremlin is using poorly trained men as cannon fodder in a hopeless war.
In addition, reports of completely inadequately equipped recruits have accumulated in recent weeks.
According to current assessments by British secret services, a large number of the Russian reservists who have been drafted have already fallen in Ukraine.
At the meeting, Putin renewed his criticism of the West and the allegedly dominant gender ideology there.
"In many places, people no longer know what mom means." There, there is "parent 1 and parent 2," the different genders are counted by the dozen, the 70-year-old claimed.
»After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it seemed to many of us that the sweet life was about to begin, that we would live like in Paris.« But now many in Russia no longer wanted to live like in Paris, because the Russian culture was different, said Putin.