“Today, as in the past, you are fighting ... for the security of our Motherland, for Russia.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, marking the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in WWII.
may 9, 2022
- Why It Matters: Many Western analysts watched to see whether Pres. Putin would use the word "war" in reference to Russia's military operation in Ukraine; he did not, nor did he reveal plans concerning further military escalation or strategy. He instead encouraged Russian troops to continue the fight: "You are fighting for our Motherland, its future, so that nobody forgets the lessons of World War II, so that there is no place in the world for torturers, death squads and Nazis."
- In his speech, Pres. Putin justified Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a "pre-emptive strike" against what he described as NATO aggression. He also compared the Soviet Union's fight against Nazis in WWII to Russia's current self-described "special military operation" in Ukraine.
- A Moscow architect whose grandfather was wounded in WWII talked about Pres. Putin's Victory Day speech to The Washington Post, saying: "This day has nothing to do with what is happening in Ukraine right now. I just think it would have been a tragedy for my grandfather if he had been alive. He had many acquaintances in Ukraine. I'm even glad he doesn't see any of this. I think there's no excuse for war."
- Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described Putin's speech as "revisionist history that took on the form of disinformation." And in eastern Ukraine, Russian forces continued fighting in an effort to capture the Donbas region — a contested area of Ukraine fought over by Russia and Ukrainian forces for years. However, the Associated Press reports that an unnamed senior U.S. official "said that overall, the Russian effort in the Donbas hasn't achieved any significant progress in recent days and continues to face stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces."
Victory Parade on Red Square (Russian Pres. Putin's Victory Day Speech Transcript)
As Putin marks Victory Day, his troops make little war gains (Associated Press)