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Putin enjoys parade while Russia strikes Ukraine, sends troops to death

Russian cruise missiles explode over Kyiv on Tuesday while tanks and soldiers assembled in Moscow’s Red Square for a military parade to mark the anniversary of the victory over the Nazis. On the same day, Russia sent a new wave of missiles and soldiers to continue their invasion of Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin started the ceremony by spewing propaganda, saying that Russians are engaged in a “patriotic struggle” for the future of their country. While Russia invaded Ukraine on his order in 2022, he claimed that it was his country that was attacked.

“Today, civilization is again at a decisive turning point. A real war has been unleashed against our homeland. We have repulsed international terrorism, we will protect the inhabitants of Donbas, we will ensure our security,” Putin added.

⚡ Putin claims 'real war' unleashed against Russia during Victory Day speech.

During his address at the Victory Day parade in Moscow to commemorate the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that "Western globalist elites" are intent on…

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) May 9, 2023

In Moscow, Putin welcomed the leaders of ex-Soviet allies Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan at the Kremlin before taking their places on the dais outside.

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His speech was followed by a military parade across Red Square.

Sinister celebrations

The same day, Ukraine said its air defenses shot down 23 of 25 missiles, fired chiefly at the capital Kyiv, and there were no reported casualties. It was the second night in a row of major Russian air strikes.

Sergei Popko, head of the Kyiv city military administration, said the Russians were trying to kill civilians. “As at the front, the plans of the aggressor failed.”

“[They] try to kill as many civilians as possible,” he added.

No flyover, less hardware

Reflecting increased security concerns, including from drones that nearly struck a Kremlin dome last week, Russian authorities have canceled the traditional flyover for Tuesday’s parade in Moscow.

Parades in some other cities have been canceled. There have also been reports of fewer soldiers and less military hardware joining this year’s parade as the Russian invasion took a heavier toll on men and equipment than expected.

During Moscow’s Victory Day Parade, only one tank rolled across Red Square 🇷🇺.

I think it is safe to assume that Ukrainian farmers 🇺🇦 now have a larger reserve of Russian tanks.

— Jason Jay Smart (@officejjsmart) May 9, 2023

Authorities nationwide also canceled the “Immortal Regiment” processions, where people carry portraits of relatives who fought against the Nazis.

Meanwhile, bodies of fallen Russian soldiers pile up in Ukraine.

These are the indicative estimates of Russia’s combat losses as of May 9, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) May 9, 2023

Russia fearing counteroffensive

Russia stepped up its attacks this month in anticipation of a looming Ukrainian counteroffensive, after a failed winter campaign captured little ground, despite being the bloodiest ground combat in Europe since World War Two.

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Kyiv says Russia tried and failed to capture the eastern city of Bakhmut in time for the holiday to give Putin a trophy for the campaign.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose private army, Wagner Group, made up mainly of convicts recruited from prisons, led Russia’s fighting in Bakhmut for months, has threatened to abandon the city, accusing generals of withholding the ammunition his forces need.

Victory Day

May 9, which marks the day of Germany’s surrender in 1945, is one of the most important holidays in Russia.

Kyiv symbolized its break from Moscow this year by formally shifting its observance of Victory Day to May 8 in line with its European allies; on May 9 it is marking Europe Day, celebrating the founding of the body that became the European Union.

On Tuesday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hosted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who tweeted a picture of herself arriving at Kyiv station by train.

Soviet grim dominance in CEE

Although the victory over Nazi Germany is celebrated across Europe, after WWII ended, many Central and Eastern European countries, including Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary and more, came under Soviet occupation.

1945 not only marks the end of World War Two but also the beginning of a bloody Soviet rule that lasted about half a century. During that time Russia mercilessly persecuted and often killed people who refused to submit and attempted to erase identities of nations that fell into its grip.

Many countries are struggling with the aftermath of Soviet policies and influence to this day. Restoration of that influence was the main reason behind Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

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