Putin Meets With Mothers of Soldiers, Blames Media

Other troops' families say the government ignores them
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 25, 2022 3:20 PM CST
Putin Tells Mothers the Troops Are Heroes
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to meet with mothers of military personnel serving against Ukraine on Friday at the Kremlin. Mother's Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of November.   (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday hit out at what he said were skewed media portrayals of Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine as he met with mothers of Russian soldiers fighting there. "Life is more difficult and diverse that what is shown on TV screens or even on the Internet. There are many fakes, cheating, lies there," Putin said. More than a dozen women attended the meeting in the Kremlin, while relatives of other soldiers complained that they weren't invited, the AP reports. Russia celebrates Mother's Day on Sunday.

Putin said he sometimes speaks with troops directly by telephone, according to a Kremlin transcript and photos of the meeting. "I've spoken to (troops) who surprised me with their mood, their attitude to the matter. They didn't expect these calls from me… (the calls) give me every reason to say that they are heroes," Putin told the women. Some families have directly criticized Putin's leadership as well as the recent "partial mobilization" that defense officials said resulted in 300,000 reservists being called up. Uncertainty persists in the nation over whether enlistment efforts may resume in the face of recent battlefield setbacks.

Olga Tsukanova of the Council of Mothers and Wives, a movement formed by relatives of mobilized soldiers, said in a video message on the Telegram messaging app that authorities have ignored queries and requests from her organization. "We are here in Moscow, ready to meet with you. We are waiting for your reply," she said, addressing Putin directly. Valentina Melnikova from of the Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers, a Russian rights organization, told the independent Verstka publication earlier this week that its members were also not invited to the meeting. Since October, relatives of mobilized soldiers have organized protests in over a dozen Russian regions.

(Read more Vladimir Putin stories.)

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