LONDON (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin evoked the memory of Soviet heroism in World War 2 on Monday to urge his army towards victory in Ukraine but acknowledged the cost in Russian lives as he pledged to help the families of fallen soldiers.
Addressing massed ranks of service personnel on Red Square on the 77th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany, Putin condemned what he called external threats to weaken and split Russia, and repeated familiar arguments that he had used to justify Russia’s invasion – that NATO was creating threats right next to its borders.
He directly addressed soldiers fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which Russia has pledged to “liberate” from Kyiv’s control.
“You are fighting for the Motherland, for its future, so that no one forgets the lessons of World War Two. So that there is no place in the world for executioners, punishers and Nazis,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Victory Day Parade in Moscow.
His speech included a minute of silence. “The death of each one of our soldiers and officers is our shared grief and an irreparable loss for their friends and relatives,” said Putin, promising that the state would look after their …read more