Putin tells Russian mothers their sons’ deaths were not in vain

Putin tells a soldier's family his death was 'meaningful'

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Vladimir Putin claimed he shared the grief of Russian mothers whose sons died on the battlefield due to the his unilateral invasion of Ukraine and his partial mobilisation order. The meeting with a carefully selected group of 17 mothers at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow was highly choreographed in the days leading up to Sunday’s Russian Mother’s Day in a bid to calm public anger over mobilisation. Putin claimed he understood their distress and concern as well as the pain they felt.

Vladimir Putin told the grieving mothers: “We are all mortal, we are all under God. And we will leave this world someday. it is inevitable. 

“The question is how we have lived. Some do or do not live, it is not clear.

Seemingly smiling, the Russian leader said: “And how they go die of vodka or something else.”

Putin appeared indifferent as he said: “And then, they left and lived, or didn’t live, unnoticed. And your son lived. And his goal was achieved. It means he didn’t die for nothing.”

The Russian leader added: “It is clear that life is more complicated and diverse than what is shown on TV screens or even on the internet – you can’t trust anything there at all, there are a lot of all sorts of fakes, deception, lies.”

Vladimir Putin spoke to the handpicked cadre of mothers who were all sat around a large, oval table laden with tea, cakes and berries, and listened to their stories for over two hours. Footage shows some women struggling to hold back their tears while others appeared expressionless.

He said: “I would like you to know that, that I personally, and the whole leadership of the country – we share your pain.”

Breathing heavily and frequently clearing his throat, he added: “We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son – especially for a mother.”

He later said he had no regrets about calling the “special military operation” in Ukraine, which he described as the moment Russia faced down Western hegemony after decades of humiliation since the Soviet Union fell in 1991.

Putin paid tribute to the women’s sons for standing up for “Novorossiya”, literally “new Russia”, which modern Russian nationalists use to describe the swathes of southern and eastern Ukraine that Russia now claims.

The mothers, from all over Russia and different ethnic backgrounds, extended their gratitude to Putin for his leadership before telling the tragic accounts of their son’s deaths. 

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Nina Pshenichkina, a woman from Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, said his son’s loss encouraged her to work even harder to make the annexed region part of Russia.

In response, Putin said: “Your son lived, and his goal has been achieved. And that means he did not leave life in vain.”

However, the staged meeting sparked backlash as other relative of soldiers killed in the war said the Kremlin ignored their pleas for a meeting with the Russian leader and the one hosted by Putin was staged.

Olga Tsukanova, head of the Council of Mothers and Wives, said in a message on Telegram: “The mothers will ask the ‘correct’ questions that were agreed beforehand.

“Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin) – 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 travelled from different cities here to meet with you? We await your answer.”

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