Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday evoked the memory of Soviet heroism in World War II to urge his army to victory in Ukraine.
Addressing massive ranks of military personnel in Red Square on the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, Putin condemned what he called external threats to weaken and divide Russia, and repeated familiar arguments he used to justify his invasion — that NATO was creating threats soon after. to its borders.
At war with Ukraine, Russia celebrates 77 years of victory over Nazi Germany
He directly addressed soldiers fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which Russia has promised to “liberate” from Kiev.
“Defending the homeland when its fate is being decided has always been sacred,” he said. “Today you are fighting for our people in Donbas, for the security of Russia, our homeland.
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But his 11-minute speech on the 75th day of the invasion was largely notable for what he didn’t say.
He did not mention Ukraine by name, made no assessment of progress in the war, and gave no indication of how long it might go on. There was no mention of the bloody battle for Mariupol, where Ukrainian defenders hiding in the ruins of the Azovstal steelworks are still defying Russia’s onslaught.
Putin has repeatedly compared the war – which he describes as a battle against dangerous “Nazi” nationalists in Ukraine – to the challenge the Soviet Union faced when Adolf Hitler invaded in 1941.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said it is Russia that is staging a “bloody reenactment of Nazism” in Ukraine.