Russian President Vladimir Putin did not announce a new phase of the war against Ukraine at Monday’s Victory Day parade, defending the ongoing invasion but not touting any of the gains the country has made in the east, The Week reports.
Though many expected Putin to potentially announce an official war or an escalation against Ukraine to mark Victory Day, Putin instead justified the invasion as “necessary, timely, and the only right solution.”
Putin claimed that it was a “preemptive rebuff to aggression” from NATO, alleging that the West was preparing for the “invasion of our land, including Crimea,” which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
"You are fighting for the motherland, for its future, so that lessons of World War II are not forgotten," he told troops in attendance. "There is no place in history for the punitive divisions of Nazis.”
German Chancellor Olaf Sholz called Putin’s comparison between "his barbaric war of aggression to that battle against the Nazis" a "falsification of history" that Germany is obligated to repudiate “in no uncertain terms.”
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace dismissed Putin’s NATO allegations as “fairytale claims.”
Putin "is believing what he wants to believe — a slight shine of desperation," Wallace said. "But let me put on the record categorically: Nato, Britain, eastern Europe is not planning to invade Russia and never has done."
Zelensky vows victory:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky released a video to mark Victory Day and hit back at Putin’s Nazi claims.
“Today we celebrate the Day of Victory over Nazism. And we will not give anyone a single piece of our history,” he said. “Our enemy dreamed that we would refuse to celebrate May 9 and the victory over Nazism, so that that word ‘de-Nazification’ gets a chance. Millions of Ukrainians fought Nazism.”
“The one who is repeating the horrific crimes of Hitler’s regime today — following Nazi philosophy, copying everything he did — he is doomed,” he added. “We won then. We will win now. Very soon, there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine.”