(Reuters) – There is no need for Russian regions to use the conflict with Ukraine as a reason to cancel celebrations to mark New Year, one of the country’s most important holidays, a top defense ministry official said on Friday.
St Petersburg city council earlier said it was scrapping traditional New Year and Christmas festivities and using the money to pay for “additional equipment and equipment for volunteers and those who have been mobilized.”
Deputy defense minister Viktor Goremykin said that while the armed forces were grateful for the active support of the population, the military had all the equipment it needed for troops on the front line and those being trained.
“Therefore, I consider initiatives in certain regions to cancel New Year’s holiday events for children under the pretext of supporting the armed forces to be premature and unnecessary,” he said in a statement.
Last month, Russia’s competition watchdog opened probes into price rises for military goods as demand rose amid Moscow’s drive to enlist hundreds of thousands more people.
Earlier in the conflict, sources told Reuters that some military conscripts had been sent into front-line combat with no training, little food and water, and inadequate weapons.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bill Berkrot)