Putin for the first time meets with wives and mothers of Russian soldiers after numerous pleas from families trying to return their relatives home, complaining about lack of basic goods and the abysmal conditions, and some cases of mothers storming enlistment offices.
He begins by saying he “personally shares the pain of mothers who lost their sons” but then the speech quickly turns to “fakes” about the war in Ukraine: “Internet is full of deception and lies, nothing can be trusted.” Hardly a consolation.
Putin says he had calls with frontline soldiers: “I spoke with those who also surprised me with their mood, their attitude to the matter. They didn't expect these calls from me. [These conversations] give me every reason to say that they are heroes. This is true!”
Putin’s opening remarks: “I personally, and the entire leadership of the country, we share this pain. We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son, the loss of a child, especially for a mother, to whom we all owe our birth.”
Continued: “But I want you to know that we share this pain with you. And of course, we will do everything so that you do not feel forgotten. We will do everything that depends on us so that you feel a shoulder next to you.”
It’s rare to see Putin meet people in person these days and this meeting is taking place in order to quell anger over mobilization (which Russia for months said won’t be happening.) Lots of Qs flying whether this is a staged meeting given the sensitivity of the subject.