War in Ukraine, Day 74 | Russia is preparing to celebrate Victory Day

(Severodonetsk) Moscow on Monday parades its army to celebrate victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, a show of force to mobilize its fighting troops in Ukraine, where sixty civilians died in a school bombing, according to Kyiv.

Updated yesterday at 11:20pm.

Dmitry ZAKS with Joshua MELVIN in Zaporizhia
Media Agency France

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is set to deliver a long-awaited speech, will have an opportunity to issue fresh warnings after repeatedly waving the nuclear threat.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the “Plane of the Apocalypse,” an Ilyushin Il-80 designed to allow the Russian president to continue to fly over the country from the air in the event of a nuclear war, will fly over Red Square. and several weapons capable of firing nuclear missiles are also demonstrated. According to the state agency TASS, paratroopers who took part in the offensive in Ukraine are also present.

On Sunday, in his wishes of May 8, Vladimir Putin multiplied the comparisons between World War II and the conflict in Ukraine, notably assuring that “as in 1945, victory will be ours.”

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused his Russian counterpart of “having forgotten everything that was important for the victors” of 1945.

“Evil is back” in Europe, “in a different uniform, under different slogans, but with the same goal,” said Zelenskyy in a speech commemorating the end of the global conflict in Europe, likening Russia’s invasion of his country to aggression European states by Nazi Germany.

He castigated “heavy shelling” in several Ukrainian regions, including one that resulted in the deaths of “60 civilians” at a school in Bilogorivka in the Lugansk region on Saturday, “as if it weren’t May 8,” in a video message on Sunday evening today as if tomorrow weren’t May 9th, when the key word should be peace for all normal people”.


PHOTO UKRAINIAN MINISTRY OF EMERGENCIES VIA REUTERS

A school in the village of Bilogorivka was the target of a Russian strike on Saturday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “appalled” by the bombing, his spokesman said.

The governor of the Lugansk region, Serguiï Gaidaï, told Russian-language television Current Time TV on Sunday morning that “a total of 90 people” were on site at the time of the strike. “27 were rescued,” he added, adding that the temperature was very high after the blast that “completely blew up” the school.

disappointments

However, Russia has so far only been able to take complete control of one major city, Cherson (south), and the military offensive, which many experts predicted to be dazzling, was marred by disappointments, particularly in logistics.

After being thwarted at the gates of Kiev by Ukrainian forces that were more motivated than expected and armed by the West, the Russian General Staff was forced to downgrade its objectives by ramping up the offensive in the east and south of the country.

“The enemy is not ceasing its offensive operations […] to gain full control over the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson regions and to maintain the land corridor between these regions and Crimea, which has been occupied by Russia since 2014,” warned the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army.

He said Russian troops in the Donetsk region continued their attacks around Lyman, Popasniansky, Severodonetsk and Avdiivka and that the Ukrainian military had withdrawn from the town of Popasna, now in ruins, to take a “better position”.

The Russian Defense Ministry also claimed on Sunday the destruction of Ukraine’s “command post of a mechanized brigade” in the Kharkov region (northeast), as well as the “communications center of the Chervonoglinskoye military airbase” in the south-west.

In Mariupol, a port city in south-eastern Ukraine almost entirely under Russian control, Ukrainian soldiers still resisting at Azovstal’s massive steelworks have ruled out surrender. “Surrender is not an option because Russia is not interested in our lives. He doesn’t care about letting us live,” said Ilya Samoilenko, an intelligence officer.

“No more civilians in the steel mill”

In Zaporizhia (southeast) on Sunday evening, 174 civilians, some with small children, arrived in eight buses “from the hell of Mariupol,” United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine Osnat Lubrani wrote on Twitter. About forty evacuees came from the Azovstal Steelworks.


PHOTO ALEXEI ALEXANDROV, ASSOCIATED PRESS

The galleries of the Azovstal Steelworks house the last defenders of Mariupol.

According to her latest information, “there are no more civilians” at the steel mill, she told AFP, adding that she “can’t verify it”.

Aid workers escorted elderly people, including an elderly lady in a wheelchair, to a reception center.

“We hoped for an evacuation every day,” said Vladymyr Babeush, 41, an evacuee from Azovstal who worked at the factory. “And now we’re tired of waiting. We are very grateful to everyone involved.”

Another evacuee, Dmytro, 17, said he was “very tired” after seventeen hours on the bus. “But I’m happy because there’s fresh air and I’m in Ukraine,” he added.

Mr. Zelensky had already started on Saturday: “We evacuated the civilian population of Azovstal”, citing the number of 300 people who had emigrated. “We are now preparing for the second phase […] : the wounded and the medical staff. »

According to Yevgenia Tytarenko, a military nurse whose husband, a member of the Azov regiment, is still at the Azovstal factory, “many soldiers are in serious condition. They are injured and have no medication.” “There is also a lack of food and water.”

“Our units at the Azovstal factory site continue to be blocked,” the Ukrainian general staff stated on Sunday, referring to “Russian offensive operations” with “support from artillery and tank fire.”

Weaning from Russian oil

The western powers have also renewed their support for Ukraine.

The UK on Sunday evening announced export bans against Russian industry and increases in tariffs, particularly on palladium and platinum.

The G7, meeting virtually on Sunday, decided on a “gradual” withdrawal from Russian oil. “The entire G7 today committed to ban or phase out imports of Russian oil,” the White House said in a statement. This decision “will deal a blow to the main artery that irrigates Putin’s economy and deprive him of the income he needs to fund his war.”

At the European Union level, negotiations between member states continue earlier in the week to remove obstacles to the proposed European embargo on Russian oil, which is being obstructed by Hungary.


Photo by the Press Service of the Ukrainian Presidency, made available to REUTERS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday.

US First Lady Jill Biden met her Ukrainian counterpart Olena Zelenska at a school in Ukraine, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a surprise visit to Irpin, a town in the battle-ravaged Kyiv suburbs.

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