'War is war, and, of course... they pose a threat, that goes without saying,'said Putin
More than 300,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the war. Photo: Sergei GUNEYEV / POOL via AFP AFP News

In a recent speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on women to welcome the new "norm" of larger families.

While addressing the World Russian People's Council last week, the President urged women in Russia to birth to eight or more children.

In his statement to the council in Moscow, Putin called on the preservation of the Russian people and noted that growing the Russian population has become "our goal for the coming decades".

Since the 1990s, Russia's birth rate has decreased significantly. In the 10 years between 1987 and 1997, the country saw a 50 per cent decrease in the number of babies being born.

At the start of 2022, it was measured that 320,400 children were born in Russia, representing a dramatic fall of 16,600 since the beginning of 2021.

The country has also suffered many casualties since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year. So far, as of 1 November 2023, more than 300,000 Russian soldiers have been lost in Ukraine as a result of the conflict.

According to General Valery Zuluzhny, Ukraine's commander-in-chief, more than 150,000 Russian soldiers have been reportedly killed.

"In any other country such casualties would have stopped the war", but Russia has continued to recruit even more soldiers for its invasion, Zuluzhny said.

Aircraft losses have also contributed to the mass number of military casualties, with 321 Russian planes and 324 Russian helicopters being shot down by the Ukrainian Armed Forces since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine escalated.

In his speech, addressing his audience on a video link, the Russian President said: "Many of our ethnic groups have preserved the tradition of having strong multigenerational families with four, five, or even more children."

"Let us remember that Russian families, many of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers had seven, eight, or even more children," he added.

Putin continued to call for the Russian population to "preserve and revive these excellent traditions". He noted that "large families must become the norm, a way of life for all Russia's people. The family is not just the foundation of the state and society, it is a spiritual phenomenon, a source of morality."

Since the start of the war, Russian Children's Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova confirmed that more than 700,000 Ukrainian children have been taken from their home country to Russia.

While Lvova-Belova claims that the majority of the youngsters have arrived in Russia accompanied by their parents, earlier this year, the International Criminal Court accused both President Putin and Lvova-Belova of facilitating the deportation of Ukrainian children to controlled territories in Russia.

Just last week, a BBC Panorama investigation uncovered documents that named Sergey Mironov, the Leader of the Just Russia Party and Putin's ally, as the illegitimate adoptive father to Margarita Prokopenko.

Margarita Prokopenko, who has since had her identity changed, was one of the 48 children who were captured by Russian troops in the Ukrainian city of Kherson in March last year.

As the atrocities of the Russian authorities continue to be exposed, a report published by the independent Russian policy group Re:Russia, reported that an estimated 820,000 to 920,000 people have also fled the country.

"Preserving and increasing the population of Russia is our goal for the coming decades and even generations ahead. This is the future of the Russian world, the millennium-old, eternal Russia," the Russian President said in his speech to the council.

Putin went on to call Russia a "large and diverse country" that is home to a "diversity of cultures, traditions and customs creates greater strength, a tremendous competitive advantage and potential".

The Russian President called the economic sanctions and criticisms imposed on Russia by the West "their old rant", going on to praise his country by saying: "The West has no need for such a large and multi-ethnic country as Russia as a matter of principle."