(Updates headline and story with Kremlin sourcing)
LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will in the coming days meet the mothers of reservists called up to fight in Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
The war in Ukraine has killed and wounded tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides, according to the United States, and the Russian invasion has triggered the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis.
Hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers have been sent to fight in Ukraine – including some of the more than 300,000 reservists who were called up as part of a mobilisation announced by Putin in September.
The meeting with soldiers’ mothers, first reported by the Vedomosti newspaper, was confirmed by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Russia celebrates Mother’s Day on Nov. 27.
“Indeed, such a meeting is planned, we can confirm,” Peskov told reporters when asked if Putin was to hold a meeting with families of the mobilised. “Such a meeting is in preparation.”
“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.”
The United States’ top general estimated on Nov. 9 that Russia and Ukraine had each seen more than
100,000 of their soldiers killed or wounded
Putin has said he has no regrets about launching what he calls Russia’s “special military operation” against Ukraine and casts the war as a watershed moment when Russia finally stood up to an arrogant Western hegemony after decades of humiliation in the years since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.
Ukraine and the West say Putin has no justification for what they cast as an imperial-style war of occupation. Ukraine says it will fight until the last Russian soldier is ejected from its territory. (Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)