Ukraine War - Today and Weekend Review
WEEK 10 - Putin's Subdued Victory Day Event hides plans to begin annexing east and south Ukraine
May 9, 2022
Russia's Putin defends Ukraine invasion in "Victory Day" speech celebrating Soviet WWII win over Nazis
Russian President Vladimir Putin used a military parade marking the Soviet Union's triumph over the Nazis during the Second World War to defend his invasion of Ukraine on Monday, casting it as a response to Western policies.
Despite widespread speculation, Putin did not declare victory in Ukraine or hint at any stronger push on the battlefield there.
"Russia called on the West for an honest dialogue, to search for reasonable, compromise solutions, to take into account each other's interests. All in vain. The NATO countries did not want to hear us, which means that in fact they had completely different plans," Putin said.
"The danger grew every day. Russia gave a pre-emptive rebuff to aggression. It was a forced, timely and the only right decision. The decision of a sovereign, strong, independent country."
Putin scolded the West for failing to roll back perceived NATO expansion and meet Russian demands for "security guarantees."
He repeated previous claims that he had been forced into military action due to Western nations planning operations in Ukraine's Donbas region and because of Kyiv touting its possible acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Others suggested he might declare the fighting a war, not just a “special military operation,” and order a nationwide mobilization, with a call-up of reserves, to replenish the depleted ranks for an extended conflict.
In the end, he gave no signal as to where the war is headed or how he might intend to salvage it. Specifically, he left unanswered the question of whether or how Russia will marshal more forces for a continuing war.
“Without concrete steps to build a new force, Russia can’t fight a long war, and the clock starts ticking on the failure of their army in Ukraine,” tweeted Phillips P. O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Nigel Gould Davies, former British ambassador to Belarus, said: “Russia has not won this war. It’s starting to lose it.”
He said that unless Russia has a major breakthrough, “the balance of advantages will shift steadily in favor of Ukraine, especially as Ukraine gets access to growing volumes of increasingly sophisticated Western military equipment.”
Despite Russia’s crackdown on dissent, antiwar sentiment has seeped through. Dozens of protesters were detained around the country on Victory Day, and editors at a pro-Kremlin media outlet revolted by briefly publishing a few dozen stories criticizing Putin and the invasion.
May 9, 2022 - Russia is expected to cement control over occupied areas of southern Ukraine by introducing elements of Russian statehood there and reinforcing its historical claims to the region.
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