Russian President Vladimir Putin evoked the memory of Soviet heroism in World War II on May 9 to urge his army toward victory in Ukraine but acknowledged the cost in Russian lives as he pledged to help the families of fallen soldiers.
Addressing ranks of service personnel in Red Square on the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, Putin condemned efforts by “Russia’s enemies” 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.
“You are fighting for the 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,” he said, directly addressing soldiers fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which Russia has pledged to “liberate” from Kyiv’s control.
But his 11-minute speech, on day 75 of the invasion, was largely notable for what he did not say. He did not mention Ukraine by name, gave no assessment of progress in the war and offered no indication of how long it might continue. There was no mention of the battle for Mariupol, where Ukrainian defenders holed up in the ruins of the Azovstal steel works are still defying Russia’s assault. (Reuters)