Putin visits wounded troops (VIDEO)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu visited some of the soldiers wounded during the conflict in Ukraine on Wednesday. After touring the central military hospital in Moscow, Putin said all of the troops deployed abroad – and families of the fallen – should be compensated.
Putin’s schedule “allowed him to visit in person this time,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, adding that the president has been personally involved in overseeing all assistance rendered to Russian servicemen.
Photos and videos shared on social media show Putin and Shoigu, dressed in white overcoats, speaking with medical staff and the wounded soldiers, many of whom said they would like to return to the fight.
In one video, a scout who was wounded in the stomach told Putin he’d like to get back to his unit, and the president said he would make it happen.
In another, Putin remembers the name of a wounded soldier’s son and tells him the boy will be proud of his father.
Later in the day, meeting with the state council on social issues, Putin said the payments to troops serving across the border ought to be increased.
“Because everything is pegged to the exchange rate,” Putin said, “and the dollar in this case, as you know, is shrinking, the ruble is strengthening, so you need to recalculate all this and make payments accordingly.”
This did not apply only to the soldiers’ wages, but to payments to the wounded, families of the killed, housing allowances and other social issues, the president explained.
These are people who risk their health and life for the people and children of the Donbass, for the sake of Russia. They are all heroes, and you need to treat them exactly like that.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.