Vladimir Putin announces 'partial mobilisation' of Russian forces

An ally of Vladimir Putin has claimed that going to war offers Russians the chance to prove they are ‘real men’.

Vitaly Milonov is a politician in Putin's political party, United Russia. He was invited on state TV to speak about what he saw as the benefits of the invasion of Ukraine.

It comes as Moscow is looking to mobilise up to one million reservists for the Ukraine war, not 300,000 as first reported, according to Russian media reports.

Milonov's comments were translated by BBC journalist Francis Scarr in a post.

"Regarding men with multiple children, I think it's a chance for men to prove that they're men, not only because they're able to make use of their primary sexual characteristics but are also men on a fundamental level," he said, according to the translation.

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“And at the present time, every man is getting – I'm speaking about my personal feelings – the opportunity to prove that you're a man. That you're a Russian bloke. Because if you're a man, if you want to aspire to the role of a real Russian, the president has given you this chance."

It’s far from the first time Milonov, one of the most notorious homophobes in Russia, has made controversial comments.

He was previously criticised by the country’s Human Rights Council after calling for gay people to be “sterilised”.

He said in 2021: “We have to be humane. How do we fight stray cats? We sterilise them. And gays should be sterilised, too.”

Valery Fadeev, head of Russia’s Human Rights Council, warned him at the time by saying: “It seems to me that, just as in Soviet times, the party committee should deal with him. It is not right if an MP has not read the Russian constitution.

“You can have a negative opinion towards gays and the LGBT+ community, but a politician should watch his language and should not publicly call for breaking laws.”

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