The mothers and relatives of Russian servicemen who the women believe are fighting in Ukraine have called on military officials to give them more information.
They gathered outside the 331 Paratroopers Regiment in the city of Kostroma, 300 kilometres north east of Moscow. The women say they are desperate for information on the whereabouts of their sons and husbands who they haven’t heard from in six days. They are angry at army officials who they say promised to get back to them have not done so.
The wife of one serviceman, Valeria Sokolova, said: “The officials wrote down all of our telephone numbers and how we are related to our husbands. Supposedly if they got any information at all they would call us. But no one has called us, and all the wives have no information. Finally we reached them at the camp on the phone last night. They said that no one had returned to the camp.”
Some of the wives only realised their husbands were in Ukraine when they saw them captured in TV news reports.
The group of 10 paratroopers were captured on Monday by Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
Lyudmila Khokhlova, the head of the Council of Soldiers’ Mothers in Kostroma said: “Mothers, wives and relatives of the boys who were captured in the territory of Ukraine, turned to me for help as I am the head of the Council of Soldiers’ Mothers in Kostroma region. I ask the president of our country and the defence minister to help us get them out of captivity and to bring them alive to us.”
Moscow denies it has any combat troops in Ukraine and say the soldiers strayed across the border by mistake. The men are being detained in Kyiv.
The women say many more Russian soldiers have failed to return home to their regiments.