Putin to Meet Mothers of Russian Soldiers Decrying War: Report

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to meet with the mothers of men called up to fight in Ukraine this week, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed an earlier report by the Russian newspaper Vedomosti that the Russian leader would meet with mothers of soldiers conscripted as part of his September 21 partial mobilization order.

Vedomosti, citing three unnamed Kremlin sources, said that the event would be timed to coincide with Mother's Day, which is celebrated in Russia on Sunday, November 27.

"Indeed, such a meeting is planned, we can confirm," Peskov told reporters when pressed on the issue. "Such a meeting is in preparation."

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Above, Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the development prospects of the national selection breeding and genetics via a video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on November 21, 2022. Putin will soon meet with the mothers of the soldiers he deployed to fight in Ukraine, the Kremlin confirmed. MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/AFP/Getty Images

He didn't confirm when or where the meeting would be held but said it would take place this week.

"The president often holds such meetings, they are not all public. In any case, the president receives first-hand information about the real state of affairs," Peskov added.

The announcement comes amid reports that Putin is facing mounting opposition to his war against Ukraine from the mothers of his country's soldiers.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a United States think tank, assessed last week that Russian citizens, including mothers, are increasingly turning to various social media platforms to voice their dissatisfaction with Putin's partial mobilization order.

The ISW noted that about 1,500 mothers of disabled children and mothers with more than three children in their households have petitioned the Russian president to exempt their husbands from mobilization.

Although Russian defense officials said some 300,000 reservists and ex-military personnel with "certain military specialties and relevant experience" would be called up to fight in Ukraine, the figure in Putin's partial mobilization decree has not been disclosed to the public. Multiple reports have emerged that men ineligible to be drafted have been deployed.

Russia's defense ministry claimed on October 31 to have completed its partial mobilization. However, fighting-age men in Russia are still hiding in fear of being conscripted.

Putin has said that about 80,000 mobilized citizens have been deployed in Ukraine so far, of which about 50,000 are taking part in hostilities.

In July, the mother of a Russian soldier killed fighting in Ukraine told BBC News that she believed mothers would eventually rise up against Putin. She said many of the mothers blame the Kremlin for the ongoing conflict and the deaths of their sons.

And just days after the war began, Russian mothers accused the Kremlin of deploying their sons as "cannon fodder."

"We were all deceived, all deceived. They were sent there as cannon fodder. They are young. They were unprepared," one woman said, according to the footage published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in March.

In the clip, the women were filmed accusing Sergey Tsivilev, governor of the Kemerovo region, of deceiving them and their sons. The exchange took place during a meeting between Tsivilev and residents of the city of Novokuznetsk, according to RFE/RL.

On August 15, Putin revived a Soviet-era "Mother Heroine" award, which offers cash incentives for women with 10 children or more.

Newsweek reached out to Russia's foreign ministry for comment.