Putin is once again telling Russians to have more babies, and this time he's saying ethnic survival is at stake

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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is telling the country's citizens to have more kids for ethnic survival.

  • Russia faces a demographic crunch with a shrinking population.

  • Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine has further exacerbated the country's labor shortage and brain drain.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is feeling the heat from a demographic crunch.

He's calling on Russians to have more babies to preserve their ethnicity, Reuters reported on Thursday.

"If we want to survive as an ethnic group — well, or as ethnic groups inhabiting Russia — there must be at least two children," Putin said at a tank factory, according to the news agency.

It's not enough just for each family to have one kid — because Russia's population would contract, Putin said, while issuing conflicting statements on how many kids families need to have.

"In order to expand and develop, you need at least three children," said Putin, per Reuters.

Russia was in a demographic crisis even before it invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The country's population was 146.4 million at the beginning of 2023 — down from nearly 149 million in 1993, according to official statistics. However, this is up a low of around 143 million in the early 2010s.

The war is taking a toll on the population: Between 150,000 and 190,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded in the war against Ukraine, the UK's Ministry of Defence wrote in an intelligence update in October.

An estimated 1 million people have also fled Russia during the war, deepening a brain drain and labor crunch in the country.

This is not the first time Putin has urged Russians to have more children.

In November, he extolled the virtues of large families, calling on women to have as many as eight children — if not more.

"Let us preserve and revive these excellent traditions. Large families must become the norm, a way of life for all of Russia's people. The family is not just the foundation of the state and society; it is a spiritual phenomenon, a source of morality," Putin said at the World Russian People's Council in Moscow.

Putin's call for more children echoes that of other leaders across the world. Notably, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said in October that women must help establish a "new trend of family" as the country faces a demographic ticking time bomb. In May 2021, China — which had for decades had a one-child policy — launched a new three-child policy, marking a landmark shift in the country.

Read the original article on Business Insider