The presidents of Russia, Vladimir Putinand Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyinvoked this Monday the fight against nazism on the day that Adolf Hitler’s triumph over Germany is commemorated. Almost two and a half months after the beginning of the Russian attack on the Ukraine, on February 24, both leaders had a very different staging to evoke the defeat of the Nazis on May 9, 1945. In the Red Square of Moscow, with all the military paraphernalia, Putin justified Russia’s invasion of Ukraine giving, among other reasons, that of save Donbass from Nazism. Contrary to what was speculated in kyiv and in other parts of the world, the Russian president stopped short of formally declaring war on Ukraine. In the meantime, Zelensky recorded his speech in the streets of kyiv, against the background of a barricade, to compare the Russian offensive with the Nazi and ensure: “The road to this victory is long, but we have no doubts about our triumph“.
Zelenski: “We won then and we will win now”
Ukraine will not let Russia “appropriate the victory over Nazism,” Zelenski said in a video, very artistically careful, in which he is seen walking down the central avenue of kyiv. “We are proud of our predecessors who, together with other peoples in an anti-Hitler coalition, defeated Nazism. We will not allow anyone to annex this victory and take it for themselves“said the Ukrainian president.
Zelensky listed several cities in eastern and southern Ukraine currently under the control of Russian military forces, saying that the Ukrainians during World War II had expelled Nazi Germany troops from these regions. “On the day of victory over the Nazis, we are fighting for another victory. We won then and we will win now (…) Very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine”, one on Nazism and another to remember the victory that the Ukrainian president hopes to achieve in the current conflict with Moscow.
“This is not a war between two armies. It’s a war of two worldviews. Barbarians who shoot at the Skovoroda Museum and believe that their missiles can destroy our philosophy. It bothers them because it is strange to them, it scares them. We are free people who seek our own path. Today we make war on them and we will not give anyone a piece of our landZelensky emphasized. “Our enemy dreamed that we would give up celebrating May 9 and the victory over the Nazis so that the word denazification would have a chance,” added the Ukrainian president in relation to the main reason given by his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to justify the invasion.
Putin: “Let the horror of a world war not be repeated”
For his part, Putin assured that Russia carried out a “preemptive” attack in Ukraine due to the threat of NATO and the West, and stated that it was the “only possible measure” in this situation. “We have seen how military infrastructures are deployed, how hundreds of foreign experts worked in Ukraine, how they were supplying NATO weapons,” the president said during his speech in Red Square on the occasion of the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Victory Day over the Nazi Germany.
“The danger was growing every day. Russia carried out a preventive response, it was a necessary measure and the only possible one. It was a decision of a sovereign, strong and independent country,” Putin said during the traditional military parade. The Kremlin leader argued that Russia has promised to do “everything possible so that the horror of a global war is not repeated” and for this reason, he said, “despite all the divergences in international relations, Russia always advocated a global and indivisible security systemone that is vital to the entire global community.”
“Last December we proposed to close an agreement on security guarantees. Russia called on the West for a sincere dialogue, to seek reasonable solutions and compromises for the common good. Everything was in vain. The NATO countries did not want to listen to uswhich meant that in fact they had completely different plans and we saw them,” Putin argued, noting that this Monday, 77 years after the end of World War II, “The militias of Donbass together with the Russian Army fight on their own land“.
“I now address our Armed Forces and Donbass militiamen: fight for the homeland, for your future, so that no one forgets the lessons of the Second World War, so that that there is no place in the world for executioners, repressors and Nazis“Putin noted in another section of his speech. Before asking for a minute of silence, the russian president bowed his head to the memory of those “sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends” whose lives were taken away by the so-called Great Patriotic War (1931-1945).
Putinwho addressed the 11,000 soldiers concentrated in front of Lenin’s mausoleum, among whom were soldiers recently arrived from the front in Ukraine, stressed that their “duty” is “to do everything possible so that the horror of a world war does not repeat itself”. Yes indeed, did not declare general mobilization among the Russiansan option that was being considered due to the lack of progress on the battlefield, nor did it reveal Moscow’s plans for the coming weeks of conflict.