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Russian missiles downed over Kyiv as Putin makes angry Victory Day speech | Russia

Russian cruise missiles exploded within the air over Kyiv as Vladimir Putin marked the anniversary of victory over the Nazis with one other assault on Ukraine.

Speaking at a noticeably scaled-back army parade in Moscow’s Red Square to have a good time the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, the Russian president stated the “survival of the Russian people” relied on the warfare in Ukraine, as he used his Victory Day speech to defend his invasion of the nation.

“Today, civilisation is again at a decisive turning point. A real war has been unleashed against us again,” Putin stated as he delivered an angry speech through which he drew false parallels between at the moment’s combat with Ukraine’s “criminal regime” and the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

“We are proud of the participants of the special military operation. The future of our people depends on you,” he stated, standing on the Red Square podium.

Putin additionally blamed the west for “destroying traditional values” and propagandising a “system of robbery and violence”.

“The goal of our enemies, and there is nothing new here, is to achieve the disintegration and destruction of our country,” the president stated, placing a largely acquainted tone and framing the warfare in Ukraine as a defensive battle unleashed on Russia.

“Here is to our victory!” the Russian president exclaimed earlier than leaving the rostrum.

Victory Day, when Russians have a good time the tip of what they name the “great patriotic war” in opposition to Nazi Germany in 1945, has emerged as the centrepiece of Putin’s imaginative and prescient of Russian identification over his 23 years in cost.

‘Here is to our victory!’: Vladimir Putin delivers his speech throughout the Victory Day parade in Moscow. Photograph: Gavriil Grigorov/AP

Security issues solid a shadow on this yr’s Victory Day celebrations throughout Russia after two drones attacked the Kremlin final week. More than 20 cities throughout the nation had scrapped their parades, together with these a number of 1000’s of miles from the frontlines.

The conventional flyover in Moscow and St Petersburg was cancelled on Monday and the parade within the Russian capital was shorter than in earlier years.

Observers additionally observed that this yr’s parade featured considerably much less heavy fashionable tools than in years previous – and just one Soviet-era tank – a transparent signal that the warfare in Ukraine has inflicted a heavy toll on the nation’s army.

“As I expected, the Kremlin tried to hide the severe damage to the army but it’s too much to hide,” stated Dara Massicot, a senior coverage researcher on the Rand Corporation thinktank.

More than 500 Russian troopers who fought in Ukraine have been current on the parade, in keeping with state media.

The Russian president did obtain a late PR increase on Monday when the heads of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Armenia – three post-Soviet nations that Moscow strives to maintain in its orbit – introduced they might attend the army parade on Red Square alongside the heads of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

One of Putin’s key allies throughout the Ukraine warfare, Belarusian chief Alexander Lukashenko, additionally attended however skipped lunch amid well being issues. Lukashenko appeared drained and had a bandage on his proper hand.

All overseas leaders stayed away from the Victory Day parade final yr, which passed off two months after the beginning of the invasion.

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Putin’s speech got here hours after his nation launched a recent barrage of cruise missiles at Ukraine. Ukraine stated its air defences shot down 23 of 25 missiles fired mainly on the capital, Kyiv, and there have been no reported casualties.

“Overnight into the ‘sacred’ May 9, [they] launched an attack on the territory of Ukraine,” Ukraine’s air drive stated on its Telegram messaging app.

Serhiy Popko, the pinnacle of the Kyiv metropolis army administration, stated the Russians have been attempting to kill civilians. He added: “As at the front, the plans of the aggressor failed.”

Russia’s newest missile barrage got here as each side seemed to be making ready for a broadly anticipated Ukrainian offensive that Kyiv hopes will assist recapture territory misplaced because the begin of the warfare.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, described Moscow’s shelling as an try to display some army successes as Russia’s winter offensive has come to a stall.

“Russia …  needs to sell something to their society,” Zelenskiy stated, talking at a press convention in Kyiv alongside the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, who travelled to town on Tuesday morning.

“They were not able to sell Bakhmut to their society because they were not able to capture Bakhmut,” Zelenskiy stated, referring to the besieged japanese Ukrainian metropolis that Moscow has been attempting to seize for months.

The head of Russia’s Wagner group militia, Evgeniy Prigozhin, whose troops have been engaged within the bloody preventing for Bakhmut, blamed the nation’s defence ministry on Tuesday for the abandonment of positions close to town, in his newest assault in opposition to the army prime brass.

Von der Leyen stated Ukraine was “on the frontline of the defence of everything we Europeans cherish: our liberty, our democracy, our freedom of thought and speech”, describing Kyiv as “the beating heart of today’s European values”.

“Courageously Ukraine is fighting for the ideals of Europe that we celebrate today. In Russia, Putin and his regime have destroyed these values,” she stated.

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