In a speech from Red Square to mark Victory Day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the world is again at a “turning point.” “Today, civilization is again at a decisive turning point. A real war has been unleashed against our Motherland,” he said during a parade in Moscow on Tuesday. “The West forgot who defeated the Nazis,” he said before going on to repeat his false suggestion that Ukraine is similar to Nazi Germany.
The Russian leader still refers to the war in Ukraine as a “special military operation” saying, “the future of our country depends on it.” He said “Western globalist elites” were sowing Russophobia and aggressive nationalism, while the Ukrainian people had become “hostages to a state coup” and to the ambitions of the West. Putin insisted that the West’s “untamed ambitions, arrogance and impunity” are to blame for the conflict he started when Russia invaded its neighbor over 14 months ago.
Russia’s celebration of the anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany during World War II is overshadowed by Russian battlefield failures in Ukraine, growing tensions with the West and tighter security for the Kremlin at home. Dubbed Victory Day, this is one of the biggest national holidays in Russia where people commemorate the sacrifices of the Soviet Union and over 20 million Soviet lives that were lost during World War II. The holiday comes as thousands of Russian military personnel have died since Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022. Putin did not address the challenges facing Russia in Ukraine but did mention some of the servicemen involved in the war attending the parade. The Kremlin is also reeling from a slew of drone attacks, including one last week that allegedly was meant to assassinate Putin. An unverified video of the drone attack was circulating on social media which showed a drone blast into flames as it hit the premises.
Given the security concerns, authorities have scaled back the annual parade to exclude the traditional flyover and the “Immortal Regiment” processions, in which people carry portraits of relatives who fought against the Nazis. The Kremlin feared many would carry portraits of those who died in the war in Ukraine and show the extent of Russian losses in the ongoing war.
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