Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a conference. Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Pool Sputnik Kremlin/AP/dpa
Russian state media released a short video on Friday showing Putin receiving and handing coffee cups to more than a dozen selected women at his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region.
“I want you to know that we share this pain with you and that we will of course do everything we can to ensure that you do not feel forgotten,” Putin said at the meeting, according to the Interfax agency. “We do everything we can to ensure that you feel a shoulder at your side.” According to official information, a total of 17 women traveled from various Russian regions and from areas of eastern Ukraine illegally annexed by Moscow.
In the face of military defeats, around 300,000 reservists have been called up for the fighting in Ukraine on Putin’s orders since the end of September. The partial mobilization turned out to be an extremely unpopular measure and triggered a real mass exodus in Russia as well as the largest anti-war protests in months. The demonstrations were often organized by women.
Critics complain that the Kremlin is using poorly trained men as cannon fodder in a hopeless war. In addition, reports of completely inadequately equipped recruits have accumulated in recent weeks. According to current assessments by British secret services, a large number of the Russian reservists who have been drafted have already fallen in Ukraine.