A video claiming to show the mothers of Russian soldiers making an emotional appeal to President Vladimir Putin to bring their sons back from Ukraine went viral on Wednesday, as the propaganda war on the conflict in the country's east continues.
Lyudmila Khokhlova, the head of the Soldiers' Mothers group in the Kostroma region, can be seen in the video saying: "Mothers, wives and relatives of our boys who were taken captive in Ukraine have appealed to me as the chairperson of the Soldiers' Mothers Kostroma branch. I ask the president of our country and the defense minister to help, to get them out of captivity and bring them back to us alive."
"Now let them speak," she says before turning the camera to the soldiers' mothers.
"Dear president, defense minister, military leaders, my child … is currently located in captivity on Ukrainian territory. … I beg you, give me my child back. Bring him back alive. As well as all those other boys being held with him. Son, boys, we are with you. Guys, no matter what we will drag you out of this predicament. If your leaders will not do it, we will. Your mothers," one woman says.
Another woman introduces herself as the mother of Sergei Smirnov, but breaks down before she can say anything further, appearing to mutter "I can't" as she puts her head down.
Another woman who says she is awaiting the return of her husband tearfully makes her statement to the camera: "Lyosh, we love you. We're waiting for you at home. Please save them and bring them back to us, alive and healthy. I am appealing to everyone, to all of the government, the defense minister and the president. Bring them back to us, please, right away."
The video appeal to Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov came just one day after Putin shrugged off concerns about the capture of 10 Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine a day earlier.
Kiev on Tuesday said it had captured the men while they were on a "special mission" on Ukrainian territory, publishing footage of their interrogations online.
The Defense Ministry has denied that it sent troops to Ukraine and maintained that the paratroopers currently being held there wound up there by accident.
"What I've heard is that they were patrolling the border and could have ended up on Ukrainian territory," Putin told journalists in Minsk when asked about the , Interfax reported Wednesday.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Andriy Lysenko told Interfax news agency on Wednesday that the men were being held in a detention center in Kiev.