Putin hails army ‘heroes’ and warns off West in WW2 parade


RUSSIA – there were plenty of were references to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Among the participants of the parade were soldiers who’d been fighting there. “We mark Victory Day at a time when we are carrying out the Special Military Operation,” President Vladimir Putin said in his Red Square address. “Those taking part on the frontline are our heroes.” In recent days Russia has accused Western nations, including the UK and France, of threatening Russia. President Emmanuel Macron has not ruled out sending ground troops to Ukraine. “Russia will do everything to avoid a global confrontation,” the Kremlin leader said. “But at the same time, we will not allow anyone to threaten us. Our strategic forces are always on combat alert.” A day for remembering, not only the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany, but also the enormous human cost of that victory – the more than 27 million Soviet citizens killed in what’s known here as the Great Patriotic War. If this country today has any kind of national idea, it is the idea of victory. Russians are constantly being told that throughout history their country has come under attack from enemies abroad – like Napoleon and Hitler – and has emerged victorious. In Russia today the authorities are not just remembering the past. They are weaponising it, to try to justify the present. They want the Russian public to view the war in Ukraine as a continuation of World War Two, so that Russians believe that once again external forces are fighting to destroy Russia. Today’s enemies – Ukraine and the West.In reality, it was Russia that annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and intervened militarily in the Donbas. And in 2022 it was President Putin who ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In a small town outside Moscow yesterday I witnessed the unveiling of a war memorial. It is dedicated to Russian soldiers who died in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the war in Chechnya and Russia’s war in Ukraine. (BBC)…[+]