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Russia’s defense ministry admitted Wednesday to its use of conscripts in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, despite President Vladimir Putin’s repeated insistence that Kremlin military forces only considered of professional fighters, according to a Reuters report.
The defense ministry’s staggering admission comes after Putin has previously – and repeatedly – denied Russia’s use of conscripts in the war, and one day after Putin addressed the concerned loved ones of soldiers directly.
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“I’d like to address the mothers, wives, sisters, brides and girlfriends of our soldiers and officers who are in battle now,” Putin said Tuesday in a televised address, according to a translation shared by The Telegraph.
PUTIN TELLS RUSSIA’S MOMS ‘I UNDERSTAND YOUR WORRY’ AMID INVASION OF UKRAINE
“I know how worried you are for your loved ones,” he went on. “You can be proud of them just as the whole country is proud and feels for them.”
Russia’s defense ministry further revealed Wednesday that some of the conscripts who had been used in war had been captured by Ukrainian forces, according to the Reuters report.
UKRAINE APPEALING TO RUSSIAN MOTHERS, LOVED ONES TO GET THEIR SOLDIERS TO STOP FIGHTING
And on Monday, a group of concerned mothers accused Putin and his military of sending their sons to war “as cannon fodder,” according to a report from The Telegraph.
“We were all deceived, all deceived,” one woman can be heard shouting at Sergey Tsivilev, governor of the Kuzbass region in Siberia, in a video translated by the Telegraph. “They were sent there as cannon fodder. They are young. They were unprepared.”
Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, instigating war as Ukrainians scrambled to escape to safety in neighboring countries. An estimated 2,155,271 people have fled Ukraine since then.
On Tuesday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said 474 civilians had been confirmed killed in Ukraine since the start of the invasion, while 861 had been confirmed injured. The office estimated that figures were actually higher.
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U.S. officials estimated that more than 3,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine so far.
Updated casualty statistics were not immediately available on Wednesday.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.