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Russia Ukraine conflict

‘West was preparing to invade our land,’ Putin says at Victory Day parade

Published: Updated:

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia’s intervention in Ukraine had been necessary because the West was “preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea.”

Putin was speaking at the annual Victory Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square marking the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.

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President Putin evoked the memory of Soviet heroism in World War Two to urge his army towards victory in Ukraine.

Addressing massed ranks of servicemen on Red Square on the 77th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany, Putin condemned what he called external threats to weaken and split Russia, and repeated familiar arguments he had used to justify its invasion -- that NATO was creating threats right next to its borders.

He directly addressed soldiers fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine which Russia has pledged to “liberate” from
Kyiv.

“Defending the Motherland when its fate is being decided has always been sacred,” he said. “Today you are fighting for our
people in Donbas, for the security of Russia, our homeland.”

“The death of every soldier and officer is painful for us,” he said. “The state will do everything to take care of these families.”

He finished his speech with a rallying cry to the assembled soldiers: “For Russia, For Victory, Hurrah!”

Putin’s 11-minute speech on day 75 of the invasion offered no assessment of progress in the war and gave no indication of
how long it might continue.

He has repeatedly likened the war -- which he casts as a battle against dangerous “Nazi”-inspired nationalists in Ukraine
-- to the challenge the Soviet Union faced when Adolf Hitler invaded in 1941.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said it is Russia that is staging a “bloody re-enactment of Nazism” in Ukraine.

Read more: Explainer: Why Victory Day in Russia is different this year