Vladimir Putin has told Russian troops fighting the war in Ukraine that the country’s future “rests on” them.
The Russian President made the comments during his annual Victory Day parade speech in Moscow, which marks the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany. He also attempted to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in his speech and took aim at “Western globalist elites” whom he accused of spreading “hatred and Russophobia” and destroying family values.
“There is nothing more important now than your combat effort,” he told Russian soldiers. “The security of the country rests on you today, the future of our statehood and our people depend on you.”
The military parade was closed off to members of the public and only attended by officials and veterans.
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Mr. Putin attempted to paint Russia, who invaded Ukraine in February last year, as the victims in the conflict as he claimed a “real war” had been “unleashed” against his country. The usually buoyant celebrations in Red Square were toned down this year amid tightened security measures, with numerous Victory Day events canceled in some Russian regions.
Security concerns were heightened in Russia following a series of drone attacks, explosions and sabotage across the nation in recent weeks. The most serious incident occurred on May 3 when the Kremlin was targeted in an alleged drone attack, which Russia claimed was an attempt on Mr. Putin’s life. Moscow blamed the incident on Ukraine and the US but both countries denied any involvement.
Mr Putin’s speech, which had echoes of last year’s address, demonized the West whose goal, he said, was “to see the fall of our country”. A large portion of his speech centered on his pride for the actions of Russian “heroes” in Ukraine.
Mr Putin, who is accused of war crimes in Ukraine by the International Criminal Court, said: “There is no cause stronger in the world than our love for our armed forces. To Russia, to our armed forces,” he said at the end. of the speech as the Russian national anthem began to play.