Russia to hold VE Day parade under tight security after drone attacks

Russia celebrates the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II on Tuesday with a parade in Red Square under tight security following a series of drone attacks, including on the Kremlin citadel itself, which Moscow has attributed to Ukraine.
Victory Day is one of the most important holidays in Russia, when people commemorate the enormous sacrifices made by the Soviet Union during the so-called Great Patriotic War of 1941-45, during which approximately 27 million citizens perished.
This anniversary is all the more emotionally charged as Russia mourns the thousands of soldiers killed in the nearly 15-month war in Ukraine that shows no signs of ending.
Russia is also reeling from drone attacks, including one on the Kremlin on May 3 which it says was an attempted assassination of President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine, which should soon launch a counter-offensive to retake land, denies any involvement.
Putin has repeatedly compared the war in Ukraine – which he presents as a battle against “Nazi”-inspired nationalists – to the challenge the Soviet Union faced during Hitler’s invasion in 1941.
Kyiv says this is nonsense and accuses Russia of behaving like Nazi Germany by waging an unprovoked war of aggression and seizing Ukrainian territory.
Putin, his defense minister and other top officials are expected to review the Red Square parade, which typically includes tanks, intercontinental missile launchers and marching troops.
However, reflecting heightened security concerns caused in part by drone attacks, authorities canceled the traditional overflight. It has also been reported that fewer soldiers and less military equipment are joining this year’s parade as the conflict in Ukraine takes a heavy toll on men and equipment.
The country’s authorities have canceled the processions of the “Immortal Regiment”, where people carry portraits of relatives who fought the Nazis.
Putin will deliver a speech in Red Square, where he will be joined by the leaders of several ex-Soviet republics. In his speech last year, he made no mention of Ukraine but criticized the NATO military alliance for expanding to Russia’s borders and hailed Soviet heroism in its resistance to Hitler.
Since then, Finland – which borders Russia – has also joined NATO.
“May no one ever encroach on the sacred borders of our homeland again,” said Patriarch Kirill, head of the powerful Russian Orthodox Church and close ally of Putin, as he laid flowers at the soldier’s grave on Monday. unknown in central Moscow.
“But for this to be so, our country must be strong because a country that we fear is not attacked.”
Asked about cancellations of some Victory Day events on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov blamed Ukraine: “When we have to deal with a state that is a de facto sponsor of terrorism, then it is worth better take precautionary measures”.
In addition to the attack on the Kremlin complex, Moscow also accuses Ukraine of hitting drones last week against fuel depots, freight trains and multiple targets in Crimea, which Russia has annexed from strength to Ukraine in 2014.
Moscow also accused kyiv and the West of carrying out a car bomb attack on Saturday that injured a prominent Russian nationalist writer, Zakhar Prilepin.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy annoyed Russia on Monday by moving the day his country marks Allied victory over Nazi Germany to May 8, aligning it with Western nations in a repudiation of its Soviet past.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called Zelenskiy a “traitor”, saying he betrayed the memory of Ukrainians who died fighting the Nazis.


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