Putin faces Russian mothers' wrath over sending sons to war 'Can't take it anymore'

Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has only once published data about its losses during the war. On March 25, Kremlin said 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed and gave no information on missing people.

Valentina Melnikova, who runs the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers in Russia, revealed that even the relatives of the soldiers hear nothing about their fate.

She told Sky News: “The families aren’t told where they’ve gone missing or the circumstances.

“‘Very rarely, some of them manage to drag out of the people they served with, details about what actually happened.”

A Russian soldier’s mum who hasn’t heard of her son since the end of March, said: “They were withdrawing and there was a battle.”

And added: “My son was killed. They couldn’t retrieve the bodies, there were a lot of them there. Locals buried them.”

The woman desperately seeks to have her son’s body brought home so she can bury him.

She said she was notified of her son’s death by his military unit, but that Russia’s Ministry of Defence has told her he is missing.

Another woman, Irina Chistyakova, whose 19-year-old son went missing four months ago, said: “No one hears us and no one wants to listen to us.

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“I can’t take it any more. I’m only 44-years-old, and already I’m like an old woman.”

“He wanted to be a military man, he wanted to defend his motherland and now it looks like they were asked to help restore the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR).

“My son went missing in Kharkiv region, so explain to me, why was my son there?”

In an interview with Meduza in May, Ms Melnikova had said: “We have no idea how many bodies Russian military units haven’t retrieved and haven’t buried.

“It’s a problem we need to reckon with. There’s never been anything like it before.”

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“When a soldier dies and they take his body to Rostov, identify him with a DNA test, and find his relatives, that’s a terrible sorrow, but at least there’s a conclusion.

“There’s a death certificate, the body can be buried, and the family can receive insurance payments.

“Helping the relatives of missing soldiers is harder. There’s no information and no documents.

“Three months have passed since the war began, but this problem still hasn’t been recognized by the state in any way. It’s unclear what ‘missing’ even means.

“There’s currently no decent legal support for the families of missing soldiers — even those who are married or have children.”

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