Russia’s Vladimir Putin sought to assuage the concerns of his country’s military moms Tuesday, 12 days into his invasion of Ukraine, while doubling down on the claim that his full-scale attack is a defensive move.
“I’d like to address the mothers, wives, sisters, brides and girlfriends of our soldiers and officers who are in battle now,” he said in a televised address, according to a translation from Russian.
“I know how worried you are for your loved ones,” he continued. “You can be proud of them just as the whole country is proud and feels for them.”
His speech came a day after a group of mothers accused the Russian military of using their sons as “cannon fodder” in the war with Ukraine.
“We were all deceived, all deceived,” a woman shouted at Sergey Tsivilev, governor of the Kuzbass region in Siberia, on a video translated by the Telegraph and shared to social media. “They were sent there as cannon fodder. They are young. They were unprepared.”
Putin claimed Russian troops, which he sent in last month in a stalled bid to topple the government in Kyiv, have deployed for a defensive “special military operation.”
He also claimed that “conscripted soldiers” played no role in combat operations in Ukraine and vowed not to mobilize additional reserves.
However, just days into the invasion last month reports emerged that conscripted soldiers had been forced to sign military contracts and were cut off from communications with their families.
Olga Larkina, the director of Russia’s Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, spoke to Russian investigative news outlet Meduza, describing how Russian conscripts – those fulfilling military enlistment requirements – had been pressured, or at times even forced to sign contracts to become soldiers for the Russian military.
Story continues at: Putin vs Moms