Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the West was “preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea,” during the noticeably smaller May 9th Russian Victory Day Parade.
“The West was preparing for the invasion of Russia, NATO was creating tensions at the borders. They did not want to listen to Russia. They had other plans,” Putin claimed.
That’s just one of Russia’s fantasies and fairytales Putin had been spewing. Russia’s Victory Parade is an event that has been anticipated yearly by the Russian public. Notably, millions more eyes had watched the Russian Victory Day Parade because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Disinformation had lined the atmosphere during the parade, with the Russians using children dressed up in “tanks” marked with various symbols, with the most prevalent one being the letter “Z.”
— SOFREP (@sofrepofficial) May 8, 2022
The Victory Day Parade, which celebrates the Soviet Union’s part in obtaining victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, was full of nationalist sentiment as one would expect from these kinds of celebrations. Using his prowess in speeches, Putin relied on the nostalgia of the Soviet Union and memories of their heroism that helped defeat the Nazis.
Directly addressing the crowd and his men on the 77th anniversary of the Soviet victory, Putin made several claims about Russia and the war in Ukraine that will simply make one’s head spin. First, Putin claimed that there were certain “external threats” that aimed to weaken Russia as a nation. He was clearly referring to NATO, echoing previous statements made to justify the invasion of Ukraine.
“We saw military infrastructure being ramped up, hundreds of military advisers working, and regular deliveries of modern weapons from NATO. [The level of] danger was increasing every day,” Putin claimed. “Russia preventively rebuffed the aggressor. It was necessary, timely, and … right. The decision of a sovereign, strong, independent country.”
Furthering these claims, he added that Ukraine and the West were preparing a military operation in Donbas to “intrude on our historic lands.”
“In Kyiv, they were saying they might get nuclear weapons, and NATO started exploring the lands close to us, and that became an obvious threat to us and our borders,” Putin said.
In response, Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Mykhailo Podoliak tweeted and reiterated that NATO and Ukraine did not have such plans and that there were no rational grounds for the war in Ukraine.
Victory Day parades begin in Russia.
People in Vladivostok take to the streets to watch the annual parade marking Russia's 1945 victory over Nazi Germany.
This year's parades aim to justify Russia's war in Ukraine, which has gone on longer and cost more than Moscow expected pic.twitter.com/l2aeMeRfAj
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) May 9, 2022
Putin also claimed openly that the Donbas region of Ukraine belongs to Russia and that the Russian troops were fighting on their own lands. This is a change from previous statements that they were merely trying to help “liberate” the “oppressed” people of Donbas which were autonomous countries. In these occupied regions, the Russians have taken to replacing road signs and markers in the Russian language in seeming furtherance of folding them into the territory of the Russian Federation.
“Today, the volunteers of the Donbas, together with the soldiers of the Russian army, are fighting on their own lands,” Putin boldly claimed.
“I am now addressing our armed forces and the Donbas volunteers. You are fighting for the Motherland, for its future, so that no one forgets the lessons of World War II – so there is no place in the world for executioners, punishers, and Nazis,” he added.
In another translation of this passage, he also claimed that defending the Motherland was “sacred.” We also agree that defending one’s country is sacred. However, the world has mostly condemned their invasion, as we can remember from previous United Nations General Assembly emergency meetings.
“Defending the Motherland when its fate is being decided has always been sacred,” he said. “Today, you are fighting for our people in Donbas, for the security of Russia, our homeland,” Putin said.
He also talked about the casualties Russia has incurred over the past three months of fighting. He expressed his “shared grief” toward the families that had lost their sons in Ukraine.
“The death of every soldier and officer is painful for us,” admitting that there were losses in Ukraine but did not indicate how much. “The state, regions, companies, and public organizations will do everything to care for and help these families,” he continued.
Putin also revealed that the Russian government would be giving special support to the children of those dead and wounded soldiers, adding that a presidential decree had been signed to operationalize this special support.
An explicit attack on the West was also mentioned during his speech, rambling about how the United States had reigned its “exceptionalism” after the fall of the Soviet Union. However, while doing so, he also has somewhat given praise to American veterans and those from the British Armed Forces, the French, and the rest of the allied forces.
“We honor all the soldiers of the allied armies – the Americans, the British, the French, the participants in the Resistance and the partisans of China – all those who defeated Nazism and militarism,” Putin said.
Putin claimed that American World War II veterans had wanted to join the festivities in Moscow to enjoy the parade but were “practically banned” from doing so. He continued to say that Russia was “proud of your exploits” and that they were also proud of the Americans’ contribution to victory. Americans are currently barred from traveling to Russia in part because they could be arrested and held as bargaining chips by the Kremlin.
Putin also decried what he believes is the West seeking to minimize the Soviet Union’s contribution to the defeat of the Nazis saying, “Such moral degradation underlies the cynical falsifications of World War II history, escalating Russophobia, praising traitors, mocking their victims’ memory and crossing out the courage of those who won the Victory through suffering.”
Russia lost 20 million people in WWII and is selective in their memories of the contribution of other nations to that victory while casting their own role as the decisive one in winning WWII. Historians point to contrary facts in the history of that war in rebuttal. The Soviet Union began the war with an alliance with Nazi Germany that allowed them to invade Poland together and partition the country between them in 1939. The alliance between Nazi Germany and the USSR held for nearly two years until Germany invaded Russia in June of 1942.
Lend-Lease supplies of food, arms, planes, trucks, and tanks provided by the US to Russia kept them in the war. Historians state that converting the value of 17.5 million tons of military equipment sent to Russia into practical use would be enough to equip some 60 Divisions of infantry and armor. The US supplied 53% of the ammunition expended by the Soviets, exceeding their own domestic production ability. America even went as far as dismantling an entire rubber tire manufacturing plant belonging to Ford and sending it to the Soviets to rebuild and put into operation.
While the Soviets certainly did fight and defeat the largest part of the German army, they did so while the United States provided the bulk of their military equipment, food, fuel, and ammunition, while the US fought the war on three fronts simultaneously in Europe, the Mediterranean and in the Pacific against the Japanese.
It is notable that Putin did not mention “Ukraine” by name, nor did he mention any further plans with Donbas, where the fighting had been raging on. He also did not declare the all-out war on Ukraine as was initially predicted by Western analysts and officials. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace had claimed earlier that May 9th would be used to drum up support for the invasion and declare an all-out war. This comes after CIA director William Burns claimed that Putin was doubling offensive efforts in Ukraine.
Fantastic speech by Zelensky today on Victory Day.
He says that just like every other occupier, Russia stepped on a rake when they entered Ukrainian land and that Ukraine will soon celebrate 2 victory days.
What a leader, what a speaker!
Pass it on. pic.twitter.com/AwMSNrJcGc
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) May 9, 2022
In an apparent response to all of these claims, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that the Russian forces were the ones replicating the atrocities committed by the Nazis. He described this phenomenon as “darkness” returning to Ukraine during a video message where he showed residential buildings destroyed by Russian bombardment.
“Evil has returned, in a different uniform, under different slogans, but for the same purpose,” Zelensky said. “We won then. We will win now,” he proclaimed. “We will never forget what our ancestors did in World War II, which killed more than eight million Ukrainians.”
“Very soon, there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine,” the President announced.