Putin Says Russia Was 'Facing Threat' In New Address Defending Ukraine War
Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended his invasion of Ukraine, calling it a necessary and 'timely' measure.
Putin's 'special military operation' has stretched into its 75th day. Just this past weekend, 60 people sheltering in a school in Ukraine were killed in a Russian bombing, with airstrikes continuing to rock cities amid evacuation efforts.
While death tolls continue to rise in the war, Moscow has been celebrating Victory Day, commemorating Russia's victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
Less than a minute into his speech, Putin turns to conspiracy theories about NATO plotting to attack Russia through Ukraine nazis. pic.twitter.com/imb1EQAsuA— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) May 9, 2022
Victory Day is a significant public holiday in Russia, with troops, tanks and nuclear missiles parading past citizens and the president prior to his speech.
From Moscow's Red Square, Putin said the Russian invasion in Ukraine was necessary because the West was 'preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea' – there's no evidence to suggest this.
As per The Telegraph, he continued: "There was open preparation for a punitive operation in the Donbas, for an invasion of our historical lands, including Crimea.
"In Kyiv, they announced the possible acquisition of nuclear weapons and NATO began the active military development of the territories adjacent to us.
"Today, the fighters of different nationalities are fighting together, covering each other from shrapnel"— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 9, 2022
Russian leader Vladimir Putin praises soldiers for “standing together” including those fighting in Donbas, Ukrainehttps://t.co/kFcGP8DPxD pic.twitter.com/IlRDyutuJR
"Moreover, directly at our borders. Everything indicated that a clash with the Nazis and Bandera [terrorists], on whom the United States and junior partners would back, would be inevitable."
Putin claimed that NATO is 'actively pursuing' Russian territory. "That is absolutely unacceptable to us. We are talking about neo-Nazis in Ukraine that the US and its partners are working with," he added.
By 'neo-Nazis', Putin is likely referencing the Azov Battalion, a far-right all-volunteer infantry military unit that seemingly supports white supremacist ideologies, and has been fighting alongside Ukrainian troops against Russian forces.
Members of the battalion are currently trapped inside the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol, fearing they'll be killed if they're captured by Russian forces and pleading for Ukrainian authorities to pursue an extraction.
“Glory to our armed forces, hooray to Russia”— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 9, 2022
Troops in Red Square cheer Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Moscow Victory Day Parade, Russia’s national anthem is played while cannons are firedhttps://t.co/kFcGP8DPxD pic.twitter.com/BvDFxzAIa4
Putin continued: "The US spoke after the fall of the Soviet Union about exceptionalism, but we are a different country with different character. We have respect for all people and cultures.
"Ukraine is receiving the most modern weaponry from NATO. The decision for this special military operation was forced and was the only correct decision."
Directly addressing troops fighting for control of the Donbas region, a key area from the outset of the war, Putin said: "You are fighting for your Motherland, its future.
"The death of every soldier and officer is painful for us. The state will do everything to take care of these families."
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
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