Vladimir Putin met with the mothers of soldiers killed in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin met with the mothers of soldiers killed in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin met on Friday with a group of mothers whose sons are fighting in Ukraine. (file)

Moscow:

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday told a group of mothers whose sons are fighting in Ukraine that he shares the pain of those who have lost family members in the conflict.

The meeting comes ahead of Mother’s Day, which Russia will mark on Sunday, and amid growing anger from families of Russian servicemen following the chaotic military draft.

“I want you to know: I personally and the country’s entire leadership share this pain,” Vladimir Putin told the women at his residence near Moscow.

“We understand that nothing can compensate for the loss of a son, a child,” he said in his opening remarks, which lasted only a few minutes.

He said, “I dare not say any formal, standard things about condolence.”

He said that some news reports about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine cannot be trusted.

“There is a lot of fake news, hoaxes and lies,” he said.

Vladimir Putin, who has introduced legislation that effectively bans any public criticism of the offensive in Ukraine, told women to be careful what they read on the internet.

“It is clear that in a much more complex life than what is shown on our TV screens or even on the Internet, there is nothing to be trusted,” he said.

Earlier on Friday, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the rest of the debate would be shown “on the basis of negotiations”.

State television broadcast images of the Russian leader sitting at a table with 17 mothers, the first such meeting since Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.

Referring to Mother’s Day, the 70-year-old said, “I completely understand that for you and for many other women in Russia whose sons are currently in the field of battle, this will not be a time for celebration.”

Videos of Russian mothers and relatives worried about the men fighting in Ukraine have popped up on Russian social media in recent months.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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