Downbeat Putin slams West at low-key Victory Day parade in Russia – POLITICO

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday delivered a morose speech in Moscow’s Crimson Sq. that lasted barely 10 minutes, throughout which he doubled down on his justification for the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“An actual battle has as soon as once more been unleashed on our motherland,” he stated within the speech throughout annual celebrations marking Russia’s World Battle II victory. “Western elites discuss their exceptionalism, dividing individuals and frightening bloody conflicts, sowing hatred, Russophobia and aggressive nationalism, destroying conventional household values.”

For practically eight many years, Moscow’s annual Victory Day parade has been not only a memorial to the 27 million Soviet residents who died preventing Nazi Germany in World Battle II, but additionally a fastidiously curated present of Russia’s energy.

This 12 months, nevertheless, Could 9 celebrations throughout the nation have been canceled or minimize quick, and the same old procession of uniformed troops and heavy weaponry within the capital appeared a shadow of what it was earlier than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In earlier years, a bunch of overseas dignitaries have traveled to Moscow for the festivities. However this time, solely the leaders of seven different former Soviet republics made the journey — representing Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Belarus and Armenia.

Whereas the more and more remoted Putin pledged that his troops would in the end reach Ukraine, the army {hardware} on present recommended its armed forces are scraping the barrel for tools.

As an alternative of a protracted line of superior battle tanks rumbling via the streets towards the Kremlin as in earlier years, the procession was led by one single, Soviet-era T-34 tank — the type utilized in motion towards the Nazis on the Japanese Entrance.

Except for a couple of dozen armored personnel carriers, heavy tactical autos utilized by Chechen forces and long-range anti-aircraft methods, the majority of Russia’s once-feared arsenal was nowhere to be seen — probably in motion in japanese Ukraine. Or mendacity wrecked on the battlefield.

“There was a lot of {hardware} that appears tank-adjacent, however isn’t formally a tank,” one Moscow resident watching the parade instructed POLITICO on situation of anonymity, given strict legal guidelines concentrating on anybody accused of discrediting the armed forces.

Throughout the border, a barrage of Russian rockets rained down on Kyiv in a single day, with air defenses repelling an estimated 15 missiles. Ukraine commemorated the top of World Battle II the day earlier than, on Could 8, aligning with Western Europe for the primary time.

In the meantime, the a part of Russia’s celebrations organizers say honors those that fell within the struggle towards fascism virtually 80 years in the past — the march of the so-called Immortal Regiment, the place Russians maintain photos of their family members who died — was canceled.

In a rustic the place lots of of hundreds of younger males are preventing Putin’s bloody battle, discuss of casualties is turning into extra delicate day after day.

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