Furious Russian mothers accuse Kremlin of using sons as 'cannon fodder' in Ukraine war

7 March 2022, 15:06

Thousands of people have been arrested in anti-war protests in Russia.
Thousands of people have been arrested in anti-war protests in Russia. Picture: Getty/Twitter/Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Furious mothers of Russian soldiers accused the Kremlin of lying and using their children as "cannon fodder" as they hit out at a government official in Siberia over the war against Ukraine.

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The Russian women said families were "deceived" by Vladimir Putin as they shouted down Sergey Tsivilyov, governor of the Kuzbass region in Siberia.

According to video footage of the confrontation, one woman shouted: "We were all deceived, all deceived. They were sent there as cannon fodder.

"They are young. They were unprepared."

The heated encounter came on a day when Russian police detained 4,500 anti-war protesters, as thousands voiced their anger at Putin's invasion.

Mr Tsivilyov held the talk at the training base of riot police units, whose officers were killed or captured in combat in Ukraine since the invasion on February 24.

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The meeting in Novokuznetsk comes amid the Kremlin's rapidly escalating efforts to control information about its war in Ukraine, including a fast-tracked law that allows for up to 15 years in prison for those convicted of spreading "false news".

As Mr Tsivilyov addressed the group, a woman yelled that everyone was "deceived" about the deployments to Ukraine.

"They lied to everyone, they deceived everyone," one shouted.

"No one has lied to anyone," Mr Tsivilyov replied.

The governor attempted to defend the actions of President Putin, stating he was unable to comment on the status of the so-called “military operation".

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But there were multiple cries from the crowd, with one woman claiming their sons were "sent as cannon fodder".

Mr Tsivilyov fumbled as he tried to respond to the remarks, saying: "They were used not for..."

But he was cut off by a woman who hit back at the governor and asked: "They were used? Our children were used?"

"Look, you can shout and blame everyone right now, but I think that while a military operation is in progress, one shouldn't make any conclusions," the governor replied.

"We shouldn't criticise. When it ends, and it will end soon..."

"[You mean] when everyone dies?" a mother interrupted.

Read more: Captured Russian commander says he's 'ashamed' of Russia's invasion of Ukraine

The encounter came as a number of anti-war protests were held in cities across Russia, such as Moscow and St Petersburg.

In Serbia, one Russian man burnt his passport, while others held up Ukrainian flags and chanted slogans against Putin.

"I don't want to have anything to do with what Russia is doing on the territory of Ukraine and in the world," Vladimir Nesimov said after burning his passport.

"I don't want to bear any moral or physical responsibility for something that does not depend on me ... I don't want to be a citizen of that country."

Earlier, a captured Russian commander said he feels "shame" over Putin's invasion of Ukraine, and that he was not told he was going to war.

It comes as air and artillery strikes have continued on the cities of Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Chernihiv in recent days.

They have been particularly heavy in Mariupol, killing thousands of fleeing civilians.