Russian President Vladimir Putin did not formally declare war on Ukraine on Monday, as feared in Kyiv, but he did defend the military campaign to defeat “Nazism” and guarantee Russia’s security in the face of the “threat” of NATO, on the occasion of Victory Day over Nazi Germany.
“The defense of the homeland was always sacred. Now, in our days, you are fighting for our people in Donbas, for the security of our homeland, Russia,” he said during the traditional military parade in Red Square.
Putin, who addressed the 11,000 soldiers concentrated in front of Lenin’s mausoleum, including soldiers who had recently arrived from the front in Ukraine, stressed that his “duty” is “to do everything possible so that the horror of a war does not repeat itself. world”.
Of course, he did not declare the general mobilization among the Russians, an option that was being considered due to the lack of progress on the battlefield, nor did he reveal the Russian plans for the coming weeks of the conflict.
The absence of foreign leaders at the foot of the Kremlin demonstrates the deep diplomatic isolation of Russia, which did invite the main world leaders in 2020, a stop that was postponed due to the coronavirus.
PUTIN EXPLAINED WHY HE DECIDED TO INVADE UKRAINE
Although he did not allude to the march of the “special military operation” in Ukraine, where the Russian army has been unable to “liberate” Donbas in two and a half months of fighting, he did blame NATO for forcing a “preventive” attack ” to avoid an alleged “aggression” against its historical territories in eastern Ukraine.
“The danger was growing every day. Russia carried out a preventive response, it was a necessary measure and the only possible one in this situation. It was a decision of a sovereign, strong and independent country,” he proclaimed.
He recalled that Moscow, which accuses NATO of turning Ukraine into a platform to contain Russia, proposed to the West at the end of 2021 “to close an agreement on security guarantees”.
Putin, who addressed the 11,000 soldiers concentrated in front of Lenin’s mausoleum, among whom were soldiers who recently arrived from the front in Ukraine, stressed that his “duty” is “to do everything possible so that the horror of a war does not repeat itself. world”.
“All in vain. The NATO countries did not want to listen to us, which meant that in fact they had completely different plans and we saw them,” he said.
Those plans would take the form of “a punitive operation in the Donbas, an invasion of our historical territories, including Crimea” so that the confrontation with “the neo-Nazis” would be “inevitable”.
“In this way, an intolerable threat was being systematically created for us directly at our borders,” he said.
The creation of an external enemy in the neighboring country has struck a chord with Russians, many of whom still believe that it was Ukraine that attacked Russia.
EASTERN UKRAINE, THE MOTHERLAND
During his speech, Putin insisted that Russian soldiers and militiamen from the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, whose independence has been recognized by the Kremlin, “fight together on their own land”, where, he recalled, the Russians fight against the invader, be they Tartars, Ottomans or Nazis, for hundreds of years.
“I now address our Armed Forces and the militiamen of the Donbas: they fight for the motherland, for their future, so that no one forgets the lessons of the Second World War so that there is no room in the world for executioners, repressors, and Nazis. “, he pointed.
Putin asked to observe a minute of silence for those who fell in the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), as World War II is known in this country, but also for the children, women, and elderly who have died in the “barbaric attacks” of the “neo-Nazis”.
“Denazification” is one of the arguments that Putin used to launch the “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, a country led since 2019 by a president of Jewish origin, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
And he warned that the Kremlin will never humiliate itself before the US or renounce its “traditional values” or accept the “falsification” of history, as its European satellites have done, since “Russia has a different character.”
“Loyalty to the motherland is our main value, the solid pillar of Russia’s independence,” he said.
UNKNOWN ABOUT THE CONTEST
Putin acknowledged the pain caused by the casualties in the ranks of the Russian army during the armed intervention in Ukraine, a figure that has stagnated at 1,351 dead for a month and a half.
He did not insist on the need to “minimize” casualties, which he admitted at the time slowed down the Russian advance, but he did announce the signing of a decree to help the children of those killed in action.
Nor did he allude to the conquest of the port city of Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, where an unknown number of fighters from the Azov Battalion are still entrenched in the Azovstal steelworks.
He did make special mention, however, of the dozens of pro-Russians killed in the clashes that took place eight years ago between supporters of Kyiv and Moscow in the main Ukrainian port on the Black Sea, Odesa.
“We bow our heads to the memory of the Odessa martyrs, who were burned alive in the House of Trade Unions in May 2014,” he stressed.
Ukraine and the West fear that the Russian army will not be satisfied with opening a land corridor between Donbas and the annexed Crimean peninsula, but that it intends to conquer all of southern Ukraine, including Odesa, and leave the neighboring country without access to the sea.