Russian mother says Kremlin lying about soldiers killed in Ukraine
The Russian authorities have not updated the official death toll in the Ukraine war since March.
The Ukrainian defence ministry estimates that 37,870 Russian soldiers have been killed so far.
Ukraine says the Russian authorities are using mobile crematoriums in Ukraine to burn soldiers’ bodies to hide the scale of deaths.
The grieving mother, identified as Valya, told the BBC she spoke to her son on February 20 before the invasion when he said he was doing exercises near the Ukrainian border.
A man claiming to be his friend contacted Valya on social media to say he was dead, she told the BBC.
“I didn’t know him. He found me on social media. He told me my son’s leg had been blown off and that he was dead. I made lots of calls and tried to meet officials. But no one could tell me anything,” she said.
“[Russian mothers] hate the government, they hate Putin. They all want this war to end,” Valya said. She told the BBC the mothers of dead Russian soldiers will “rise up against Putin” over the invasion of Ukraine.
An army sergeant eventually told her the military lost contact with her son on February 23.
“No one has given me the basic information: where, when and how my son disappeared. All I’ve been told is that he was taking part in the ‘special military operation’ and that he is missing,” she told the broadcaster.
Other parents claim they have received similarly scant information about their children.
In March another soldier’s mother claimed their sons were being used as “cannon fodder”.
“We were all deceived, all deceived. They were sent there as cannon fodder. They are young. They were unprepared,” a mother told Sergey Tsivilev, governor of the Kemerovo region, in a debate.
An organisation helping Russian families told the British broadcaster ITV in March that it was getting thousands of calls a day.
The plight of grieving families in Russia receives little attention because of heavy censorship and restrictions on protests. Picture credit: Wallpaper