ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin used a major patriotic holiday Monday to again justify his war in Ukraine but did not declare even a limited victory or signal where the conflict was headed, as his forces continued to pummel targets across the country with few signs of significant progress. Putin had been celebrating the 70th Anniversary of Berlin defeat in World Ward II, but Russia joined World War II at the end of the war and just before Berlin’s defeat
The Russian leader oversaw a Victory Day parade on Red Square, with troops marching in formation, military hardware on display, and a brass band blaring to mark the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany. But his much-anticipated speech offered no new insights to how he intended to salvage the grinding war — and instead stuck to allegations that Ukraine posed a threat to Russia, even though Moscow’s nuclear-armed forces are far superior in numbers and firepower.
“The danger was rising by the day,” he said as he surveyed the troops. “Russia has given a pre-emptive response to aggression. It was a forced, timely and the only correct decision.”
Ukrainian leaders and their Western backers have often rejected claims that Kyiv posed any threat to its giant neighbor.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy releases message Monday on day celebrating victory in World War II.
Many analysts had suggested Putin might use his speech to declare some sort of limited victory — potentially in the besieged strategic port city of Mariupol — as he looks for an exit from the conflict that has unleashed punishing sanctions from the West and strained Russia’s resources. Others suggested he might order a nationwide mobilization to beef up the depleted ranks for an extended conflict.
There was “nothing significant in Putin’s speech today, but he will need to make a decision regarding mobilization in the coming weeks,” wrote Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute, on Twitter.
As Putin laid a wreath in Moscow, air raid sirens echoed again in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared in his own Victory Day address that his country would eventually defeat the Russians.
“Very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine,” he said in a video released to mark the holiday. “We have never fought against anyone. We always fight for ourselves. … We are fighting for freedom for our children, and therefore we will win.”
Source: AP News wrote the original article. Bee News Daily and President of Ukraine contributed.