Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a defiant speech at the annual Victory Day parade in Moscow on Tuesday, marking the 78th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
Putin praised the heroism of the Soviet people who fought against fascism and paid tribute to the fallen soldiers and veterans. He also addressed the recent conflict in Ukraine, where Russia launched a “special military operation” in April to counter what he called an “absolutely unacceptable threat” to its security and sovereignty.
Putin accused NATO countries of ignoring Russia’s proposal for security guarantees and creating a system of equal and indivisible security for the entire international community. He said that NATO was preparing for another punitive operation in Donbass, an invasion of Crimea, and the possible acquisition of nuclear weapons by Kiev.
He said that Russia had to preventively rebuff the aggressor and that it was a necessary, timely and right decision of a sovereign, strong and independent country. He expressed solidarity with the volunteers of Donbass, who he said were fighting on their own lands together with the Russian Army, against neo-Nazis, punishers and Nazis backed by the United States and its junior partners.
He also vowed to defend Russia’s interests and values and to ensure that no one forgets the lessons of World War II. He said that Russia would do everything to care for and help the families of the dead and wounded soldiers, especially their children.
The speech was followed by a military parade on Red Square, featuring tanks, missiles, aircraft and troops. However, some traditional elements of the parade were canceled due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, such as the air display, the Immortal Regiment march, and the participation of foreign leaders.