Demonstrators hold posters during an anti-war protest in Tbilisi, Georgia, Sunday, May 8, 2022, a day before Russia celebrates WW2 Victory Day
Shakh Aivazov/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Vladimir Putin cast Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies, at the annual Victory Day parade commemorating the victory over Germany in the Second World World War.
But the Russian president didn’t announce a scaling up of Russian military operations, or a general mobilisation.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meanwhile, said that Ukraine will not let Russia “own the victory over Nazism” in 1945, highlighting his own country’s role in it.
Russia celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany with a large-scale military parade in Moscow’s Red Square earlier today. See our coverage of the event here.
In a speech at the parade, President Vladimir Putin cast Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies. However, despite some fears, he didn’t announce a scaling up of Russian military operations or a general mobilisation.
Ukraine will not let Russia “own the victory over Nazism” in 1945, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said Monday, highlighting Ukraine’s own role in the victory. “We won then, we will win now,” he added.
Russia’s ambassador to Poland was hit by red paint as he went to lay flowers at a cemetery in Warsaw where Red Army soldiers killed during WWII are buried.
Meanwhile, European Council President Charles Michel was forced to seek shelter during a surprise visit to Odessa, as missiles hit the nearby area.
Russian forces have pushed forward in their assault on Ukraine, seeking to capture the crucial southern port city of Mariupol.
Meanwhile, the bombing of a school used as shelter in eastern Ukraine has left more than 60 feared dead, with Russia condemned for the attack.
EU Council president forced to seek shelter during visit to Odessa
The content of the article:
- 0.1 EU Council president forced to seek shelter during visit to Odessa
- 0.2 Russian television menus hacked to show anti-war messages
- 0.3 German police confiscate 25-metre-long Ukrainian flag
- 0.4 Brandenburg Gate to be lit up with colours of Ukrainian flag
- 0.5 Around 200 take part in pro-Russian march in Belgrade
- 0.6 Russia claims to have destroyed a US-manufactured counter-battery radar station and three Ukrainian aircraft
- 0.7 Russian ambassador to Poland hit by red paint
- 1 Putin’s critics pour scorn on Victory Day speech
- 2 Putin’s forces ‘corrupt memory of past sacrifices’ — UK minister
On a surprise visit to Odessa on Monday European Council President Charles Michel was forced to seek shelter, an EU official said.
According to this source, during a meeting between Michel and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmygal the participants had to interrupt their discussion to take shelter, because of missile strikes against the region.
Charles Michel for his part wrote on Twitter that he had come to Odessa to celebrate Europe Day. “You are not alone. The EU is on your side,” he said.
According to the European official, Michel also noted during his visit the impact of the war on global supply chains, particularly with regard to cereals, of which many tons are blocked in the port of Odessa due to the Russian blockade of the Black Sea.
On Monday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he had held a videoconference with the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, where they discussed Ukraine’s steps to becoming a candidate country for membership of the European Union.
Russian satellite television menus were altered on Monday to show viewers in Moscow messages about the war in Ukraine: “You have blood on your hands”, according to screenshots obtained by Reuters.
The photographs showed Moscow satellite television menus on Victory Day, when Russia celebrated the 77th anniversary of Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, with every channel showing anti-war slogans.
“You have the blood of thousands of Ukrainians and hundreds of dead children on your hands,” said one slogan.
“The TV and the authorities are lying. No to war.”
The slogans appeared just before the Victory Day parade on Red Square at which President Vladimir Putin compared the war in Ukraine to the Soviet battle to defeat Adolf Hitler in World War Two.
It was not immediately clear how the slogans appeared. Interfax news agency said the slogans appeared on cable television too after they were hacked.
A Russian news website also showed anti-war material that was deeply critical of Putin. It was not immediately clear how the negative articles appeared. They swiftly disappeared.
German police confiscate 25-metre-long Ukrainian flag
Kyiv has hit out at German police after officers in Berlin confiscated a huge Ukrainian flag that was unfurled at the Soviet Memorial in the German capital on the eve of Russia’s Victory Day, which marks its defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II.
Officials in Germany said neither Russian nor Ukrainian flags were allowed to ensure commemorations stayed peaceful.
However, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kouleba, criticised the police’s approach.
“Berlin made a mistake by banning Ukrainian symbols. It is deeply wrong to treat them on an equal footing with Russian symbols. It is an attack on all those who are currently defending Europe and Germany against Russian aggression.”
Brandenburg Gate to be lit up with colours of Ukrainian flag
The German government says Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate is one of many prominent buildings across Europe that will be illuminated Monday in the yellow and blue colours of the Ukrainian flag.
Government spokesman Wolfgang Buechner told reporters in Berlin that the decision to do so was taken some time ago and that projecting the Ukrainian flag onto the Brandenburg Gate was a “sign of solidarity” to show that the European Union is on the side of Ukraine.
Around 200 take part in pro-Russian march in Belgrade
About 200 people took part in a parade of the “Immortal Regiment” organised by the Russian Embassy in Belgrade on Monday, to mark the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
The participants marched in silence, periodically broken by “hurrahs”, carrying portraits of their loved ones who fell in the fighting.
At the head of the column one individual carried a large letter “Z”, a symbol of the Russian troops engaged in the invasion of Ukraine. Another carried a life-size cardboard portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Others waved Russian flags, as well as Soviet-era flags.
The parade went to the cemetery of the liberators in Belgrade, where the representatives of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Serbia laid wreaths. Those from Ukraine had done so a day earlier.
“I came to honour the memory of my father who participated in the liberation of Belgrade,” said Nebojsa Radic, a 70-year-old pensioner from Valjevo.
“It will last a bit longer but I hope we will get real peace like our ancestors,” he said, referring to the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia claims to have destroyed a US-manufactured counter-battery radar station and three Ukrainian aircraft
In its latest daily briefing, Russia’s Defence Ministry claims to have destroyed two command posts and one battery of Grad rocket launchers near Popasnaya, as well as a US-made counter-battery radar station near Zolotoye.
In addition, it claimed that tactical and army aviation had neutralised 52 sites with manpower or military equipment concentrations, as well as an ammunition depot near Glukhov.
Russian air defence also shot down three Ukrainian aircraft, two MiG-29s and a Su-25, and a dozen unmanned aerial drones overnight, it said.
The claims could not be independently verified.
Russian ambassador to Poland hit by red paint
Sergey Andreev, Russia’s ambassador to Poland, was hit by red paint earlier today as he went to lay flowers at the cemetery of Soviet soldiers in Warsaw.
Anti-war protesters threw the paint at Andreev as he arrived at a cemetery to pay his respects to Red Army soldiers who died during World War II. Other protesters carried Ukrainian flags and chanted “fascist”.
From the Washington Post’s Mary Ilyushina:
Putin’s critics pour scorn on Victory Day speech
Here are some of the reactions to the Russian leader’s military parade address:
Senior Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak: “NATO countries were not going to attack Russia. Ukraine did not plan to attack Crimea.”
British Defence Minister Ben Wallace: “There can be no victory day, only dishonour and surely defeat in Ukraine… He (Putin) must come to terms with how he’s lost in the long run, and he’s absolutely lost. Russia is not what it was.”
Kira Yarmysh, exiled spokesperson for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in a tweet: “An old man, mad in his self-isolation, stands alone on the podium because no one came to be with him, coughs and says something about the Nazis of NATO. I don’t think even the most devoted Putin supporter will believe that this is an image of victory.”
Exiled critic of the Kremlin and former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in a tweet: “Today is a holiday that I have been celebrating since childhood. On May 9, 1945, the Nazis who bombed Kyiv at 4 a.m. on June 22, 1941, capitulated. At 4 a.m. on February 24, 2022, under the signs of fascist evil spirits, Kyiv was again bombed. The descendants of some of the victors. Who have become fascists. Forget May 9. This is not your holiday.”
Allies of jailed political activist Andrei Pivovarov tweeted from his account: “Putin laid flowers at memorials to the Hero Cities of Kyiv and Odesa. No comment required.”
Gennady Gudkov, an exiled former lawmaker and member of the liberal opposition, tweeted: “Putin repeated quotes from the zombie drawer, not daring anything more serious. So the Kremlin no longer has any tricks in store. Now Putin’s defeat is a matter of time!”
Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia, tweeted: “On Victory Day, Putin is losing his war in Ukraine. Time for Russian soldiers to go home.”
Putin’s forces ‘corrupt memory of past sacrifices’ — UK minister
Britain’s defence secretary says Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his generals are mirroring the tyranny of the Nazis in World War II and repeating the errors of the last century’s totalitarian regimes as they pursue the illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking on the day Russia celebrated the anniversary of its victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, Wallace said Putin had hijacked the nation’s “proud history” of repelling fascism to justify his attack on a sovereign state.
“Their unprovoked, illegal, senseless and self-defeating invasion of Ukraine, their attacks against innocent civilians on their homes, their widespread atrocities, including the deliberate targeting of women and children, they all corrupt the memory of past sacrifices and Russia’s once proud global reputation,’’ Wallace said at the National Army Museum in London.
Wallace spoke as Putin reviewed Russian troops and military hardware parading through Moscow’s Red Square on what is known as Victory Day in Russia. The parade has an ulterior political motive, Wallace said.
“Really what President Put wants is the Russian people and the world to be awed and intimidated by the ongoing memorial to militarism,” he said.
Additional sources • Reuters