Victory Day speech: what did Vladimir Putin said about Ukraine war

Advertisement

President Vladimir Putin said in a Victory Day speech that Russian troops in eastern Ukraine would “defend the motherland.”

In a speech marking Russia’s Victory Day ahead of a huge military parade in Moscow’s Red Square, President Putin said Russian troops in eastern Ukraine were “defending the motherland.”

Advertisement

Register to our Mazic News Today Newsletter

He said the invasion of Ukraine, which he described as a “special military operation,” was provoked by the West and was a necessary step to stave off potential aggression.

Vladimir Putin said Russia’s military action in Ukraine was a preemptive strike to ward off aggression (Photo: Getty Images)

The Russian leader said troops were fighting in Ukraine for the country’s security and accused the West of “preparing to invade our country, including Crimea,” a territory of Ukraine annexed by Russia in 2014.

Advertisement

He tried to justify the war on Ukraine by saying Russia’s attack was a “pre-emptive strike against the aggressor” and claiming that NATO and Ukraine were creating “unacceptable to us” threats on Russia’s borders.

However, much of the world and international bodies such as the United Nations view Russia as the aggressor and Moscow’s operation in Ukraine as an illegal invasion.

Advertisement

What did Vladimir Putin say?

Speaking at a military parade commemorating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, President Putin drew parallels between the Red Army’s fight against Nazi troops and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Advertisement

In his speech he said: “It is our duty to preserve the memory of those who defeated National Socialism. Who gave us to be vigilant to ensure the horrors of global war are never repeated. And therefore, despite all the differences in international relations, Russia has always been in favor of creating security, equal and reliable security, which is needed by the whole community.

“In December last year we proposed to sign a contract. No security guarantees Russia demanded a search for a compromise solution, which was in vain, that the country needed to hear us from the world, and that means that in reality they had completely different plans. And we have seen that in the past they openly prepared another punitive operation.

Advertisement

“So aggression against our historic countries, including Crimea, holds the key to the possible acquisition of nuclear weapons, the NATO alliance began moving troops to our neighboring territories, and they posed an unacceptable threat to us across borders… The Danger grew every day. And Russia delivered a pre-emptive strike against the aggressor, which was a forced timely and the only right decision. The decision of a sovereign, strong and independent country.”

President Putin did not take the opportunity to officially declare war on Ukraine or a full mobilization of the Russian military.

Advertisement

Instead, he concluded his speech with a rallying cry to the assembled soldiers in Red Square, saying: “Those who defeated Nazism during the Great Patriotic War have shown us an example of heroism for all time. This is the generation of victims and you will always set the example of glory for our glorious armed forces.

“For Russia, for victory, hooray.”

Advertisement

What is Victory Day?

Victory Day is an annual commemoration in Russia to celebrate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

Advertisement

It is Russia’s most important holiday and is marked by a huge parade of soldiers and military equipment through Red Square.

The parade comes just two days after Russian troops bombed a village school in eastern Ukraine, killing around 60 people. The governor of the Luhansk region said that on Saturday (May 7) about 90 people took refuge in the school in Bilohorivka when it was bombed.

Advertisement

Russian forces have pressed ahead with their attack on Ukraine, with the war now in its 11th week, trying to capture the important southern port city of Mariupol

President Putin has hoped for some form of victory in Ukraine in preparation for Victory Day, with troops rushing to take the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol.

Advertisement

The mill is the last stronghold of the Ukrainian resistance in the country, and an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian militants seemingly put up their last stand to save Mariupol from falling.

It’s the only part of the city not captured by the invaders, and its defeat would deprive Ukraine of a vital port, allowing Russia to establish a land corridor to the Crimean Peninsula, which it captured from Ukraine in 2014.

Advertisement

Ukrainian fighters at the steel mill have refused deadlines set by the Russians for laying down their arms, even as attacks by fighter jets, artillery and tanks continued.

Advertisement