President Vladimir Putin has told the mothers of killed Russian soldiers that he empathizes with them, saying he shares their suffering and the loss of their sons.
In a meeting today with the bereaved mothers of Russian servicemen killed on the front lines of his war, Putin said he shared their pain and told them not to believe ‘fake news’ about his invasion .
Hundreds of thousands of Russian troops have been sent to fight in Ukraine – including some of the more than 300,000 reservists who have been called up as part of a mobilization announced by Putin in September.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets the mothers of servicemen deployed to his war front, pictured today, November 25
The war in Ukraine has killed or injured tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides, according to US estimates. The Russian invasion also sparked the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
Putin sat with the 17 women at his lavish residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, west of Moscow, surrounded by a table filled with tea, cakes and bowls of fresh berries, saying they felt their loss .
Putin said he understood the anxiety and worry of soldiers’ mothers – and the pain of those who had lost sons in Ukraine.
“I would like you to know that I personally and the entire leadership of the country – we share your pain,” Putin said.
“We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son – especially for a mother,” he said, breathing heavily and clearing his throat frequently. “We share this pain.”
Footage showed the mothers listening to Putin’s remarks, but their own comments to the Russian president were not shown in the recorded TV clip.
Putin told them he has no regrets about launching his war – or what he claims is Russia’s “special military operation” against Ukraine.
He also told bereaved mothers not to trust what they read on the internet about his calamitous war.
“You can’t trust anything there, there are all kinds of fakes, deceptions, lies,” Putin said.
Putin tells mothers he has no regrets launching what he calls Russia’s ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine
Putin told Russian mothers: “I would like you to know that I personally, and all of the country’s leaders – we share your pain”
Putin also told them he doesn’t regret launching his war – or what he claims is Russia’s ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine.
Putin said he sometimes called Russian soldiers to the front line and said their words made them heroes in his eyes.
But the meeting came as Putin faces increased opposition from other mothers of soldiers used by the Russian leader in his war. They accused him of snubbing a meeting with them.
In a Telegram message sent ahead of Putin’s scheduled meeting, activist and head of the Council of Mothers and Wifes, Olga Tsukanova, said: “Mothers will ask the ‘right’ questions agreed beforehand.”
Tsukanova wrote: ‘Vladimir Vladimirovich – are you a man or who are you? Do you have the courage to meet us face to face, openly, not with pre-agreed women and mothers who are in your pocket, but with real women who have traveled from different cities here to meet you? We are waiting for your answer.
The Russian leader continues to spread propaganda, saying the war is a watershed moment when Russia can finally stand up to arrogant Western hegemony after decades of humiliation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Ukraine and the West say Putin has no justification for what they present as an imperial-style war of occupation. Ukraine says it will fight until the last Russian soldier is expelled from its territory.
Russia last publicly revealed its losses on September 21, when Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed. But that number is well below most international estimates.
The US chief general estimated that as of November 9, Russia and Ukraine each had seen more than 100,000 of their troops killed or wounded.
Putin will “mobilize 2 million additional people including 300,000 women”
Rumors are circulating in Russia that Vladimir Putin will soon demand another massive mobilization in a desperate effort to end the calamitous defeats against Ukraine.
This comes despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warning Moscow that it must withdraw from all occupied territories if there is to be a lasting resolution to the war.
It was also predicted that such a move could be a diversionary tactic allowing Putin to step down and hand over power, as the leader has apparently suffered from health problems in recent months.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov today denied the Kremlin warmonger would make an imminent announcement.
“Media reports of Putin’s speech announcing the ‘mobilization of the country’ are false,” said Dmitry Peskov.
Yet such denials only fuel speculation that a decision to go beyond the 300,000 already enrolled is not far off.
This is partly because Putin did not sign the decree necessary to end the first wave of mobilization.
One version is that he could enlist up to two million – 300,000 of them women – in an attempt to turn the war into a national crusade.
The move will likely be coupled with martial law in key cities including Moscow, according to Russian sources.
Such a scenario could serve as political cover for him to hand over power if his health worsens, say some observers convinced he is terminally ill – despite regular recent appearances, including trips abroad to Armenia .
Putin watcher Valery Solovey, a former professor at the prestigious Moscow Institute of International Relations, said: “The intention [is] mobilize not 300,000, 400,000 or 500,000 but, with a bit of luck, up to two million people, including 300,000 women after the New Year holidays.
“In addition, there are plans to conduct a mobilization at the same time as the introduction of martial law.”
Solovey is also confident that Putin will leave within the next 13 months due to the spread of his cancer.