Vladimir Putin attends a flower-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow. AFP
Speaking on Victory Day, the holiday when the Kremlin marks the Soviet Union’s role in defeating the Nazis in 1945, the country’s president claimed he had ordered the invasion because of the existential threat posed to Russia by the West. He gave no evidence to support the statement.
“Defending the Motherland when its fate is being decided has always been sacred,” the Russian president said in a direct address to his troops.
“Today you are fighting for our people in Donbas, for the security of Russia, our homeland,” he added, as military hardware rumbled through Moscow’s Red Square.
Elsewhere, British defence minister Ben Wallace has accused the Putin regime of “mirroring” the fascism and tyranny of the Nazis. He added that Russian generals were complicit with the crimes of their leader and should be court martialled, according to the Independent.
Russian President Vladimir Putin walks after a military parade on Victory Day in Red Square in Moscow. Reuters
His words follow reports that the Russian bombing of a school in the eastern Ukrainian village of Bilohorivka killed 60 people.
Putin’s war dishonours Russia, says Wallace
Wallace said Putin’s war in Ukraine dishonours Russia.
In a speech in London on Monday, Wallace said: “Really what president Putin wants is the Russian people and the world to be awed and intimidated by the ongoing memorial to militarism.
“I believe the ongoing und unprovoked conflict in Ukraine does nothing but dishonour those same soldiers.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin and spectators observe a moment of silence during a military parade in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow. Reuters
He also accused the Russian army of “amorality and corruption”.
Ukraine responds to Victory Day celebrations
As Moscow held a Victory Day parade, Ukraine has insisted that Russia will not triumph in Vladimir Putin’s war.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said his country will not cede territory.
“There is no invader who can rule over our free people. Sooner or later we will win,” he said.
Elsewhere, Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Ukraine‘s eastern Luhansk region, cautioned the Ukraine public about the threat of escalated attacks from Russia.
“Today we do not know what to expect from the enemy, what terrible thing they might do, so please go out onto the street as little as possible, stay in the shelters,” he said.