On May 9, Russia celebrated Victory Day with parades in Moscow and across the country as well as in occupied Ukrainian cities.
In the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol – which had been under siege since the early days of the Russian invasion – Russian soldiers and pro-Kremlin separatists proudly donned ‘Z’ symbols as they carried Russian flags and the traditional black and orange flag across the city.
The parade, which was led by the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, is a slap in the face to the people of Mariupol who underwent weeks of hunger, shelling, and s*xual assaults as Russian troops besieged the city.
Similar rallies were held across several cities in eastern Ukraine including Energodar, Melitopol, Staroblesk, and Kherson.
Victory Day represents Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. Now, ironically, the country celebrated the defeat of Nazism by parading the streets of cities they have taken from an independent country through sheer force.
Taking the opportunity to wage anti-West propaganda on the day, President Vladimir Putin addressed the nation from Moscow and blamed the United States and NATO for the conflict in Ukraine.
In his speech, Putin alleged Russia acted in self-defense as it invaded Ukraine.
“Everything indicated that a clash with the neo-Nazis, the Banderites [Ukrainian Nazi sympathizers], backed by the United States and their junior partners, was inevitable,” Putin told the spectators in Moscow.
“We saw military infrastructure being ramped up, hundreds of military advisers working and regular deliveries of modern weapons from NATO.
“[The] danger was increasing every day. Russia preventively rebuffed the aggressor. It was necessary, timely and … right. The decision of a sovereign, strong, independent country.”
The president went on to insist that Russian soldiers in Donbas are fighting for their own land as he pushed his view that Ukraine is not a real country and that it belongs to Russia.
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