Russian President Vladimir Putin received Orthodox Christmas this Sunday in the company of relatives of soldiers who fell during the war in Ukraine, which has entered its third calendar year.

Putin first met with “the families of heroes” at his country residence in Novo-Ogariovo and then attended the Christmas religious service together in a small chapel.

The president assured that the meeting is “a clear and understandable signal” for Russian officials to support by all means at their disposal the families of the soldiers who fight “heroically” in defense of “the interests of the country.” “.

In this regard, Putin promised that he would talk tomorrow (Monday) about his problems and needs with the Minister of Defense, Sergei Shogu, whether payments to the widows of soldiers killed in the line of duty or mortgages.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has last reported on the number of deaths in the ranks of the Russian Army in September 2022, when it placed them at 5,937 dead.

According to independent Russian media, more than 40,000 Russian soldiers have died in these 22 months of fighting, while NATO estimates Russian casualties, including dead, wounded and maimed, at more than 300,000.

Recently, a group of wives and relatives of reservists who make up the Road Home movement approached Putin to suspend the indefinite mobilization.

As is tradition, Putin also congratulated Russians this Sunday on Orthodox Christmas, which, he highlighted, “unites millions of people around the ideals of kindness, compassion and justice.”

A year ago the head of the Kremlin unilaterally decreed a 36-hour Christmas truce that was rejected by Ukraine and its allies, and during which the fighting in Ukraine did not stop.

Looking ahead to 2024, Putin has ruled out both a cessation of hostilities, now that the Russian army has regained the initiative on almost the entire front, and possible peace negotiations with kyiv.