Faced with the mothers of Russian soldiers, Putin claims to share their “pain” | War in Ukraine

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Facing the mothers of Russian soldiers, Putin claims to share their “pain” | War in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with a group of military mothers and wives for the first time since he ordered the entry of Russian forces into Ukraine nine months ago.

Russian President Vladimir Putin assured Friday to share the “pain” of the mothers of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine, whose calls have flooded the Russian-language web for weeks to demand the respect of the promises of the Kremlin.

I want you to know that I, personally, all the leaders of the country, we share this pain. We know that nothing can replace the loss of a son, Putin said during a televised meeting with mothers of Russian soldiers and conscripts.

However, he called for not believing the lies broadcast on television and on the Internet about the Russian offensive in Ukraine, while military setbacks, and therefore losses, have multiplied for Moscow in recent months.

The Russian president has attacked enemies in the information field who, according to him, seek to devalue, discredit the Russian offensive in Ukraine. We must achieve our goals, and we will achieve them, Putin said.

The most important thing is that we feel […] that we are defending the good cause, he assured.

This was the first meeting between Vladimir Putin and mothers of soldiers sent to Ukraine. Critical voices, however, denounced a carefully choreographed meeting, without discussion on the substance.

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The Kremlin, after ordering a partial mobilization in September, had assured that the hundreds of thousands of conscripts would undergo solid training, receive good equipment and not be sent to the front line.

But many violations have been recorded: death at the front of mobilized; mobilization of unfit men, fathers of large families or too old; lack of adequate equipment and military training for number of conscripts.

One of the mothers attending the meeting with Mr. Putin also criticized uniforms that quickly become unusable in the dirty and wet trenches, without being replaced by new clothes.

The president immediately rushed to assure that the Ministry of Defense would solve the equipment problem in the most efficient way possible.

Russian military cadets from the Mikhailovskaya Artillery Academy.

Concern about the operation in Ukraine, which risks degenerating into discontent, places the Kremlin in a delicate situation: if the authorities relentlessly repress any questioning of the Russian offensive, the word of the wives of soldiers is sacred and imprisoning them would be shocking in Russia.

Before Friday's meeting, relatives of soldiers told AFP that they felt a lack of attention from the Russian authorities.

Olga Tsoukanova, mother of #x27;a young man who is doing his military service, thus castigated in advance a meeting with mothers out of his sleeve, who will ask the appropriate questions and thank him, as always.

< p class="e-p">Vladimir Vladimirovich, answer our questions! launched this woman who wants to make sure that her 20-year-old son will not be illegally sent to the front.

She came specially to Moscow from the city of Samara, in 900 km to the east, in the hope of being received at the Kremlin. In vain. I imagine they're afraid we'll ask awkward questions. But we have to fix the problem!

Like Olga Tsoukanova, mothers and wives of soldiers mobilized to fight in Ukraine urgently demand that the military keep the promises of President Vladimir Putin .

The Russian president knows how sensitive the subject of soldiers' relatives is.

In August 2000, during the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk which caused the death of its 118 crew members, he was strongly criticized, accused of having been slow to react. And during the two wars in Chechnya, a movement of soldiers' mothers had also embarrassed the authorities.

This time, faced with a climate of heightened repression, the protests of women and mothers soldiers do not directly question the offensive in Ukraine, but some denounce the conditions in which their loved ones are sent there.

And their status as mothers and ;wives of mobilized men, gone to serve the fatherland, gives them legitimacy and a form of protection against persecution.

In Russian society, there is the unconscious feeling that women have the right to hold power to account, notes Alexeï Levinson, sociologist at the independent Levada centre.

For now, the movement is disparate, uncoordinated. Calls from loved ones in distress are broadcast on social networks, where informal collectives gather around figureheads.

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