President of Russia Vladimir Putin is attending Russia’s celebration of Victory Day in Moscow, which celebrates the Soviet Union’s win over Nazi Germany in 1945.
The parade in Moscow has shown Russia’s military strength in a bid to galvanise the Army in Ukraine & the Russian general public. The occasion, however, will be smaller than usual given a large part of the Russian Army is engaged in the invasion of Ukraine.
President Putin spoke in front of 10,000 troops in Red square at around 10.30 am Belgian time. He did not make any major announcement, such as a general mobilisation of the population, but instead spent most of the speech justifying the invasion of Ukraine: “the forced, timely and only correct decision.”
Putin also claimed, without evidence: “The West was preparing to invade our land.”
He reiterated that Russia is fighting Neo-Nazism, a claim that will ring hollow in the rest of the world after 60 civilians were killed in a school bombing in eastern Ukraine on Sunday.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued a statement just before Russia began its celebrations in Moscow. He said that Ukraine is fighting again, but this time against Russian invaders.
“On the occasion of Victory over Nazism, we are battling for a new victory. The path to it is difficult, but we have no doubt that we will win,” he said in a written address.
Zelenskyy said Ukrainians were a free people who had fought to defend their land many times in history and had their “own path”.
“We are proud of our predecessors who, together with other countries in the anti-Hitler coalition, conquered Nazism. And we will not allow anyone to annex this victory, we will not allow it to be appropriated.”
Russia’s annual celebrations have taken on extra significance, but far from liberating Ukraine, Russia has nothing to show for it, said the US ambassador to the United Nations.
“They have nothing to celebrate,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador.
“They have not made any achievement in conquering the Ukrainians. They have not made any achievements in dividing the world or dividing NATO. And they have only succeeded in isolating themselves internationally & becoming a pariah state around the globe.”
Putin denied that he would use the event to officially declare war in Ukraine, although he has insisted that Russia would be victorious in Ukraine, comparing the conflict in Ukraine to the Second World War.