Russian President Vladimir Putin met a group of mothers of Russian soldiers, who have been fighting and some of whom have been killed, in his brutal war against Ukraine.
Observers said the mothers are members of pro-Kremlin movements and were carefully chosen for the meeting.
Putin was shown sitting at a large table with a group of 17 mothers, saying “I want to listen to you, firsthand, as they say, to hear your views” about the situation on the ground.
Besides his opening remarks which made headline on the state-controlled media – “nothing can replace the loss of a son, a child” and “we share you pain”, he then appeared to be justifying the lives lost in the “special military operation” – the term Russia uses for its invasion of Ukraine – by saying people die at the end anyway.
“You know what comes to my mind, I have already said it a while ago. Approximately 30,000 people die in traffic accidents, and roughly the same from alcohol every year. Unfortunately, this is how life goes, life is complex and multifaceted, more complicated than it is written somewhere, but we are all under the Lord, under Allah, under Christ, I don’t know, everyone who believes in higher powers, it doesn’t matter what religion he adheres to, the important thing is that we are all mortal, we are all under the Lord. And someday we will all leave this world, it is inevitable”.
“The question here is how we lived. After all, with some people they live or not live is not clear, and how they depart from this world – due to vodka or something else – is not clear either, and then they depart [from this world]. They lived or did not live? – their lives imperceptibly slipped away somehow: it comes to either a person lived, or not. And your son lived, you know what I mean? He achieved his goal. This means that he did not leave this world in vain. Do you understand? In this sense, of course, his life turned out to be significant, lived with the result, and with an outcome he aspired to.” he added.
Around 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded since the war began on 24 February, according to the most senior US general, Mark Milley.