Putin touts ‘sacred’ battle with West as Russia marks Victory Day

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russians were united in a “sacred” fight with the West over Ukraine but the strains of war were evident at one of the most pared back anniversaries of the victory over Nazi Germany in decades.
“The decisive battles for the fate of our Motherland have always become patriotic, all-national and sacred,” the 70-year-old president told veterans and soldiers assembled on Red Square for the annual Victory Day parade, Reuters reported.
“A real war has again been unleashed against our homeland,” he said.
Putin hailed Russian forces in Ukraine as heroes who were fighting for the country’s future against a West which, he said, had forgotten the decisive role played by the Soviet Union in defeating Nazi Germany.
“The whole country rallied to support our heroes. Everyone is ready to help, praying for you,” he said of those taking part in what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation”.
Putin cheered for “Russia, for our valiant Armed Forces, for victory!”
Cheers rang out across Red Square, with a gun salute and the Russian national anthem, though with a much-curtailed show of military hardware – and no aviation. A single tank took part – a T-34, a type used in World War Two.
As many as 354,000 Russian and Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured in the Ukraine war, which is now in its 15th month and could well grind on well beyond 2023, according to a trove of purported U.S. intelligence documents posted online.

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