Photos: Russian reservists leave sobbing loved ones | War news between Russia and Ukraine

The sound of old Soviet war songs mingled with the sobbing of relatives in the small Russian town of Bataysk as newly mobilized reservists in Russia’s southern region of Rostov bid their families farewell.

Recruits were called up as part of the partial mobilization announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin after a decisive counter-offensive by the army in Ukraine, which invaded Russia seven months ago.

Protests against Russia’s appeal and military operation have taken place in dozens of cities, and long lines have formed at Russia’s land borders with several countries.

20-year-old Roman Chodakov, who had only received a draft order the night before, told Reuters news agency that he had returned from the military just three months ago.

“A man came and gave me the concept announcement. Mama wasn’t happy, but what could we do? We have to defend our country,” Roman said. “The most important thing is to overcome the fear: I only fear for my family; they are heartbroken… I am not afraid of myself – it is God’s will.”

The military recruitment office in Bataysk is located next to the local marriage office in the main square of the city.

Andrei and his betrothed Yulia did not intend to get married, but the mobilization forced them to think again.

“I have mixed feelings: I feel fear of the unknown, I feel a lot right now,” he said, holding his young son and a football in his hands.

After being declared husband and wife, Andrei and Yulia kissed – tears streamed softly down her cheeks – and Andrei left to join his fellow recruits.

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