Wives of Soldiers in Putin's Army Take to the Street, Demand Answers

Wives of soldiers fighting Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine's Donbas region have taken to the streets, demanding answers over their husbands' whereabouts, more than 100 days after the invasion began.

A video allegedly of the wives of mobilized Russian soldiers in the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine shows the women complaining that they haven't heard from their husbands in four months and that they are not being given any information.

DPR head Denis Pushilin ordered the mobilization of all able men in the region on February 19, just days before the war began.

 A woman holds and kisses a child
Wives of Russian soldiers fighting Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine’s Donbas region have taken to the streets, demanding answers over their husbands’ whereabouts. Above, a woman holds and kisses a child next to Russian soldiers in Mariupol, Ukraine on April 12, 2022. ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

"We are the wives of the mobilized from the 121st regiment, 2nd battalion," one woman said, speaking directly to the camera in front of a group of women, and one man. "At the moment we don't know, for four months, where our husbands are."

The woman said that on February 24, the day Putin declared his so-called "special military operation" against Ukraine, their husbands were inducted to the personnel of the Komsomolsk city military unit, 08801.

"At the moment, we don't know where they are located," she said. "For four months, there were no payments to us."

She said their husbands were meant to return on June 6, but never made it back.

"From their 121st regiment, only the 4th company (battalion) made it here," the woman said, adding that the military unit "refuses" to tell them where their husbands are and that nobody is giving them any information.

"Where are our husbands? This is how they mobilized our husbands, took them from their jobs—they haven't been home even for a day," the woman said. "We don't know what's happening to them now, whether they are alive or not, no one can give us an answer to that. How is this possible? Two hundred people, is that a needle in a haystack? Answer us, to whom should we appeal?"

One man interjected: "Are we meant to complain to Putin?"

The woman claimed that half of the men who were deployed to fight the Russian leader's war in late February were "obviously not fit for service."

"That didn't bother anyone, and it still doesn't. Where could the people vanish in the DPR territory, tell me, please? Two hundred servicemen!"

In a separate incident in March, just days after the war began, furious mothers of Russian soldiers 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 in footage that purportedly showed a heated confrontation with a Sergey Tsivilev, governor of the Kemerovo region.

Russian soldiers have also been filmed saying that they believe they were deceived by their superiors, and that they believed they were sent to Ukraine "for training."

More than 100 days since the war began, Russia's focus now is to seize Ukraine's eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions in full. Clashes are intensifying in the strategic city of Severodonetsk, which could determine the fate of Ukraine's Donbas region.

Britain's defense ministry said Wednesday that after more than a month of heavy fighting, Russian forces now control the majority of Severodonetsk.

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