President Vladimir Putin says his country will “stand firm” in defending Russia’s interests, condemning the return of “Russophobia” and warning of a resurgence of Nazism.
Putin’s remarks on Sunday came at the start of an annual exhibition that saw weapons marching through the streets of Moscow. More than 12,000 military personnel participated in the march, as well as 190 artillery and 76 fighter jets and helicopters.
The exhibition commemorated the 76th anniversary of the victory in World War II against Nazi Germany.
“The people of the Soviet Union kept their sacred vow, defended the country, and liberated Europe from the black plague,” Putin told the crowd.
“Russia always upholds international law. At the same time, we will protect our interests in our country to ensure the safety of our people. ”
The Russian leader denounced what he called the recurrence of the ideology of the day, when “racism, anti-Semitism, and Russophobia became ridiculous”.
“Unfortunately, many of the Nazi ideology – which has been influenced by the propaganda of the heresies – has also been tried for inclusion in the ministry,” Putin said.
The Victory Day trial – which was only a yearly event after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and a dramatic increase in reporting on Putin’s military might over 20 years – also took place in many cities across the country.
Conflicts with the West
Sabbath commemorations came as Russia in recent weeks had its deportees expelled from European countries for persecution, while the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on Moscow for the persecution of those arrested in the Kremlin Alexey Navalny with false charges and online fraud.
The crisis is exacerbated by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which erupted after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 and where Moscow is known for supporting Russian liberals.
Conflicts between the state and dissent it’s been growing bigger since January in a war that claimed more than 13,000 lives.
Russia last month mobilized 100,000 troops near the Ukraine-Crimea border, which it had built since 2014, despite announcing the disruption of what many saw as a test for the new US President Joe Biden.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Kyiv last week to show his support for Ukraine ahead of a meeting next month between Putin and Biden.
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled with European spies to the bombed-out region of Russia east of Lugansk to mark the end of WWII.