Ukraine: Russia is fighting back, says Putin, celebrating Nazi defeat of 1945

Vladimir Putin announced Monday that his army is fighting in Ukraine to defend “the fatherland” against an “unacceptable threat,” a speech intended to stoke Russian patriotism and support for the conflict.

“I turn to our armed forces: they are fighting for the Fatherland, for its future,” Putin said in a speech in Red Square, followed by the traditional and symbolic military parade on May 9 to mark the victory over the Nazis in 1945 and the victims of millions of Soviets.

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Two and a half months after the offensive began in its Ukrainian neighbor, fighting is concentrated in the Donbass (east) after Russia was forced to scale back its ambitions to take the country in the face of fierce resistance from Ukrainians armed by Westerners.

The Russian President is trying to bring the conflict in Ukraine back into line with 1945 and constantly characterizes the opponent as neo-Nazi.

In front of thousands of soldiers who took part in the parade in the shadow of the Kremlin’s red walls, Vladimir Putin reconsidered his decision to attack Ukraine on February 24 and reiterated that Kyiv was preparing an attack on the pro-Russian Donbass separatists equip with the atomic bomb and was supported by NATO.

“An absolutely unacceptable threat was emerging right on our borders,” he said, again accusing his neighbors of neo-Nazism and calling his offensive a “preventive response” and “the only good decision.”

Since Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, the May 9 parade celebrated both the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany and rediscovered Russian power after the humiliation of the fall of the USSR.

In Moscow, law enforcement officers deployed on the parade route through the city center wore the letter “Z” on their right shoulder, which has become the symbol of supporters of the offensive in Ukraine, as it adorns the vehicles of units deployed there The conflict.

Z-stamped WWII vehicles rolled through the city during the parade in Novosibirsk, Siberia.

Mr Putin placed May 9 at the center of Russian patriotism as the USSR lost up to 27 million of its citizens in the war.

Faced with this terrible record, the Russian President stressed on Monday that Russia’s duty is to prevent a new world war, while many fear a widening of the Ukraine conflict.

“It is our duty to preserve the memory of those who crushed Nazism (…) and to do everything possible so that the horrors of global war are not repeated,” he said.

Shortly before this speech, at 10 a.m. (7 a.m. GMT), as the bells of the Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower rang, Army Chief Oleg Salyukov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reviewed the troops in commando convertibles, Aurus.

A few minutes earlier, Vladimir Putin had arrived on the official platform and shook hands with veterans of the Second World War, the chests full of medals.

After his speech, 11,000 soldiers, dozens of vehicles, including strategic missile launchers, tanks passed Red Square. Including units returning from the Ukrainian front.

The aerial portion had to be canceled due to inclement weather when we were due to see the “Plane of the Apocalypse,” an Ilyushin Il-80 designed for Russian leaders in the event of nuclear war.

Finally, on the occasion of the Victory of 1945, marches of the “Immortal Regiment” are held across the country, demonstrations in which the participants carry portraits of veterans of the “Great Patriotic War” of 1941-1945.

In Moscow, this demonstration, which is to go in front of the Kremlin, must bring together a million people, according to the city hall.

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