Ahead of Mother’s Day celebrations in Russia on Sunday, President Vladimir Putin met the mothers of soldiers recently called up to serve in Ukraine at his residence outside Moscow on Friday.
“I fully understand that for you, as well as for so many other women in Russia whose sons are in the war zone, the attitude towards this holiday … is linked to a feeling of worry and anxiety,” said declared Putin to the women in opening. remarks published by the Kremlin.
The Kremlin did not immediately reveal more of what was said at the meeting, noting that it would release detailed exchanges only with the permission of the soldiers’ mothers.
In his opening remarks, Putin said he spontaneously called and spoke with several mobilized soldiers, saying he was pleasantly surprised by their dedication.
“They weren’t expecting to get these calls from me and these calls, by the way, were made through their mothers. That gives me the right to say that [the soldiers] are heroes. This is the truth,” Putin said.
The Russian president addressed separately those whose sons had died fighting in Ukraine, noting that their pain was shared by all Russian leaders.
“For those of you here who have lost your sons, this [holiday] also, inevitably, brings to mind this tragedy… I want you to know that I, and all of the country’s leaders, share this pain. We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son, of a child,” he said.
Most of the women invited to the meeting were later identified as people with links to the government, according to the independent Telegram channel Mozhem Obyasnit.
Among those identified were a Moscow city deputy from the ruling United Russia party, a local official from the Siberian republic of Tuva and director Olesya Shigina, whose films have a reputation for being both pro-government and religiously conservative .
Mozhem Obyasnit’s claims were echoed by activist Olga Tsukanova, a member of the Council of Mothers and Wives, an independent organization that lobbies for the rights of conscripts.
In a video uploaded Friday, Tsukanova called the women who had been invited to attend the Novo-Ogaryovo meeting “pocket moms.”