Desfile militar en Moscú hoy 9 de mayo recordando la victoria en la Gran Guerra Patria contra los nazis en 1945. Foto: Alexander Zemlianichenko /AP.

Putin does not declare war on Ukraine or announce victory in Red Square

Amid a military parade to commemorate the end of the Great Patriotic War, which is still evoked in Russia today, Russian President Vladimir Putin tried Monday to justify Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.

Pronouncing the word “war” eight times, but never “peace”, Putin did not meet the Western expectations of recent days in the sense of formally declaring war on Ukraine and decreeing general mobilization. He limited himself to saying that Moscow invaded the neighboring country to ensure border peace, prevent the advance of the “neo-Nazi movement” and confront the invading designs of NATO and the West.

Putin drew parallels between the Red Army’s fight against Nazi troops and the action of Russian forces in Ukraine. And while he criticized the West, he gave no indication of a change in war strategy.

Addressing the elite troops that packed Red Square, he said the campaign in Ukraine was a necessary move to avoid what he described as “a threat that was absolutely unacceptable to us,” created “methodically along our borders.”

“The danger was increasing day by day,” he said, adding that “Russia has given a preventive response to an aggression” in what he described as a “forced, timely and the only correct decision of a sovereign, powerful and independent country.”

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The Russian leader has repeatedly accused Ukraine of harboring aggressive intentions with the support of the United States and its allies, claims rejected by Ukrainian and Western officials.

In his speech, the president again lambasted the West for not heeding Russian demands for security guarantees and to back down on NATO expansion. He said that Moscow had no choice but to launch the military operation in Ukraine.

He emphasized that the Russian troops were fighting for the country’s security and called for a minute of silence in honor of the soldiers who have fallen in combat, whose number remains an absolute secret to this day. He also pointed out that some of the troops who participated in the parade had fought in Ukraine.

He said that the troops in Ukraine have been “fighting for the Motherland, so that no one forgets the lessons of World War II and there is no place in the world for executioner and Nazis.”

Photo: Today in Red Square. BBC.

The Soviet Union lost a staggering 27 million people in World War II, civilian and military. The conflict, which devastated the country and caused enormous suffering, has left a deep scar on the national psyche.

The Kremlin has focused on the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine, known as Donbas, where Moscow-backed separatists have been battling Ukrainian government forces since 2014. That conflict erupted weeks after the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. by Russia.

The Russian military has rearmed and resupplyed its forces withdrawn from areas near kyiv and other regions of northeastern Ukraine and moved them into Donbas in an apparent attempt to encircle and destroy the more capable and experienced Ukrainian troops concentrated there.

Victory Day is the most important holiday in the country and is celebrated with military parades and fireworks.

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