Putin scolds West, blames NATO for Ukraine invasion during VE Day speech

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Latest political developments

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech from Red Square in Moscow to mark Victory Day (the annual national holiday celebrating the Soviet Union’s defeat by Nazi Germany in World War II).

  • Putin blamed the West for the Russia campaign and made no dramatic statements or announcements, despite the predictions of many observers who thought Putin could capitalize on VE Day patriotism to escalate tensions.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky marked the day with his own speech, saying: “Very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine.”

  • The United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan have all pledged to ban or phase out imports of Russian oil.

War Day 75 Terrain Updates

  • Russian troops are still trying to seize a steelworks where Ukrainian fighters are entrenched and refuse to surrender. It is the last remaining stronghold in the strategic port city of Mariupol.

  • Intense fighting continues in eastern Ukraine. Russia refocused its invasion on the east after withdrawing from the north, where troops were slowed by Ukrainian resistance.

  • More than 60 people died after a Russian bomb hit a school used as a shelter in Bilohorivka.

  • Russian shelling killed two boys, aged 11 and 14, in Pryvillia.

  • A 12-year-old boy in Dnipropetrovsk province was killed by a cluster munition he found after a Russian attack.


No indication from Putin on next steps

Russian President Vladimir Putin watches the Victory Day military parade marking the 77th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Moscow on Monday. (Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/Associated Press)

In a speech from Russia’s famous Red Square, Russian President Vladimir Putin marked Victory Day and blamed Western policies for Moscow’s military action in Ukraine, drawing parallels between the Army’s struggle red against Nazi Germany and the action of Russian forces in Ukraine.

Putin’s highly anticipated speech offered no new insight into how he intended to salvage the bitter war.

Instead, he stuck to allegations that Ukraine posed a threat to Russia, saying the campaign in Ukraine was a timely and necessary move to stave off what he described as “an absolutely unacceptable right next to our borders”.

“The danger was mounting,” he said, and went on to say that “Russia preemptively repelled an aggression,” in what he described as a “forced, timely and the only correct decision to ‘a sovereign, powerful and independent’. country.”

He repeatedly claimed that Ukraine was planning to attack Russia, which kyiv categorically denied. The United Nations overwhelmingly condemned the invasion and repeatedly called for the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Putin also chastised the West for ignoring Russian demands for security guarantees and a return to NATO expansion, arguing that this left Moscow with no choice but to launch action in Ukraine. .

But he gave no signal as to the next phase of the conflict, nor did he claim the complete capture of Mariupol, which his forces have been bombarding for weeks.

Putin delivers his speech during Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on Monday. Putin has said what he calls his special military operation in Ukraine was needed to preemptively fend off threats, which Kyiv flatly denies. (Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/Associated Press)

Russians push back, protest war

Despite Russia’s efforts to suppress dissent, anti-war sentiment has seeped in.

A few scattered protesters were arrested across the country on VE Day, and the editors of a pro-Kremlin outlet rioted by briefly publishing a few dozen articles criticizing Putin and the invasion.

In Poland, anti-war protesters threw red paint at Russia’s Ambassador to Poland, Sergey Andreev, as he arrived at a cemetery in Warsaw to pay their respects to Red Army soldiers who died in the Second World War. World War.

Anti-war protesters threw red paint at Russian Ambassador to Poland Sergey Andreev on Monday at a cemetery in Warsaw, where he was paying tribute to Red Army soldiers who died in World War II. (Maciek Luczniewski/Associated Press)

Zelensky says “we will win”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his own Victory Day speech that his country would eventually defeat the Russians.

In a video released at the holiday, he said: “Very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine.”

“We have never fought against anyone. We are always fighting for ourselves… We are fighting for freedom, for our children, and therefore we will win,” Zelensky said.

In a clear reference to Putin, Zelensky added: “Whoever repeats the horrific crimes of the Hitler regime today, following the Nazi philosophy, copying everything they did, he is doomed.”

Warning Russia could increase indiscriminate bombing

On Monday, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its daily assessment that Russian forces were short of precision-guided munitions and could increasingly subject Ukrainian cities to “intense and indiscriminate bombardment with little or no regard for civilian casualties”.

In fact, more than 60 people are believed to have been killed after a Russian bomb leveled a Ukrainian school used as a shelter in Bilohorivka, a village in the east, Ukrainian officials said.

In Mariupol, a crucial port city in southern Ukraine, Russian forces continue to shell a seaside steelworks where around 2,000 Ukrainian fighters are making their last stand.

The mill is the only part of town that hasn’t been overrun by invaders. Its defeat would deprive Ukraine of a vital port and allow Russia to establish a land corridor to the Crimean peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014. It would also give the Kremlin some much-needed success.

WATCH | What the fall of Mariupol could mean:

The symbolism behind the struggle for Mariupol

The last battalion of fighters trying to hold the Mariupol steel plant represents Ukrainian heroism, says Maia Otarashvili of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, but it will likely fall. Because they are members of the far-right Azov Battalion, she says, Russian President Vladimir Putin will use them to support his claim that Moscow should rid Ukraine of extremist elements. 6:32

Odessa, too, has been increasingly bombarded in recent days. Ukrainian officials said Russia fired four cruise missiles at the city from Crimea on Monday. He said no civilians were injured but did not specify what was hit.

The war in the country long known as “Europe’s breadbasket” has disrupted the world’s food supply.

“I saw silos full of cereals, wheat and maize ready to be exported,” European Council President Charles Michel said in a tweet after a visit to Odessa. “This much-needed food is blocked because of the Russian war and the blockade of Black Sea ports. This has dramatic consequences for vulnerable countries.”

WATCH | An analyst discusses Russia’s troop shortage:

Putin’s VE Day speech lacking key details, analyst says

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech at the Victory Day parade lacked clues as to how he would handle the shortage of troops for the war in Ukraine, said Philip Breedlove, a retired US general and former commander NATO’s supreme ally. 7:06

New signs of support for Ukraine

As VE Day turned the spotlight on Putin, Western leaders and celebrities showed new signs of support for Ukraine.

The Group of Seven industrial democracies – the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan – have pledged to ban or phase out imports of Russian oil.

The United States announced other new sanctions, cutting Western advertising from Russia’s three largest television channels, banning American accounting and consulting firms from providing services, and cutting off Russia’s industrial sector of wood products, engines industries, boilers and bulldozers.

On Sunday, US First Lady Jill Biden met with her Ukrainian counterpart and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a surprise visit to Kyiv and pledged his support.

Bono, the frontman of Irish rock band U2, and bandmate The Edge also traveled to Kyiv to pay their respects. They played a 40-minute concert in a Kyiv metro station, singing the 1960s song support me.

Bono, U2 frontman, left; Taras Topolia, leader of the Ukrainian group Antytila ​​and now a soldier in the Ukrainian army, center; and guitarist David Howell Evans aka ‘The Edge’, right, perform at a kyiv metro station on Sunday. (Sergei Supinksky/AFP/Getty Images)

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