Putin insists 99.9 percent of Russians are willing to ‘sacrifice everything’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that 99.9 percent of Russians are willing to sacrifice their lives for the good of the country in the face of Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Putin spoke about the matter during an interview with journalist Pavel Zarubin during a Christmas Day Rossiya-1 broadcast from Moscow. The Russian leader said he had been persuaded by his people’s commitment in recent months and “throughout the history of Russia’s existence,” according to a report by the state news agency TASS on Sunday.

“As for most – 99.9 percent – of our citizens, our people who are ready to sacrifice everything for the Motherland, that doesn’t strike me as unusual,” Putin said. “But it reassures me once again that Russia is a special country and has special people.”

When pressed against those who act contrary to his goals, the Russian leader dismissed them, saying they were not “true patriots” but reaffirmed their right to “freedom of choice.”

vladimir putin russian national sacrifices
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen during a Christmas service. The Russian leader said during an interview on Christmas Day that 99.9 percent of Russians are willing to sacrifice their lives for the country in the face of Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Mikhail Klimentyev/Ria Novosti/AFP via Getty Images

“It’s not surprising that some people didn’t behave like true patriots,” Putin said. “Because in every society there are always people who think about their own interests, i.e. their own plans. To be honest, I don’t judge them. Everyone has free choice.”

While the Russian leader did not specify what behavior he saw as contrary to his plans, Russia is grappling with a notable wave of desertions as part of its efforts to mobilize troops for its invasion of Ukraine. In the face of significant military setbacks, in late September Putin announced Russia’s first partial mobilization since World War II to bolster the ranks of his military.

In response, by October 4, over 370,000 Russian men fled their homes to neighboring countries to avoid recruitment. At the time, Kazakhstan alone claimed to see around 200,000 people entering its borders for this reason, others also went to Finland, Georgia and Mongolia. A search for news week also found 6-mile traffic jams towards Georgia the day after Putin’s mobilization announcement.

“What we are seeing right now is a deeply chaotic and unpopular mobilization effort that will almost certainly fail,” said Joel Hickman, associate director of the Transatlantic Defense and Security program at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). a prior statement news week. “While hundreds of thousands of young, healthy Russian men are fleeing across Russia’s borders, there are reports of thousands of older men with numerous health conditions being marched to the nearest recruitment centers.”

Despite this setback, the Kremlin said in late October that its efforts to mobilize 300,000 new troops were complete. However, the effort continued to be wracked by chaos, with reports surfacing of men being sent to the front lines with little or no training or equipment.

news week turned to foreign policy experts for comment.

https://www.newsweek.com/putin-insists-999-percent-russians-ready-sacrifice-everything-1769574 Putin insists 99.9 percent of Russians are willing to ‘sacrifice everything’

Rick Schindler

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