Image: Getty

Image: Getty

During his annual Victory Day speech in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he hopes for ‘a peaceful future’ and chastised the West for planting the seeds of ‘hatred’ in the world.

He said that there was widespread support for Russia’s conflict in Ukraine, which he referred to as a’special military operation’ for the country and asserted that there was a’real battle’ being fought against Russia.

The triumph of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War Two is honored with a parade held annually by the military. The parade was scaled back significantly from previous year, with only 8,000 troops participating as opposed to 11,000, fewer pieces of military gear, only one tank from World War II, no modern tanks, and no military flypasts.

In his speech, he asserted that Russia was defending its sovereignty even though he had given the order for the invasion of Ukraine to take place.

Shortly after the Kremlin’s forces showered cruise missiles on Ukrainian targets, he made the statement that “a real war” had been unleashed against Russia as a result of the “untamed ambitions” of Western nations.

“The course of civilization is once again at a crossroads at the present time. It is clear that a full-scale war has been launched against our homeland, he declared.

Since Russia attacked its neighbor over a period of more than 14 months ago, Mr. Putin has consistently characterized the crisis in Ukraine as a proxy struggle with the West.

The official narrative of the war that has been put out by the Kremlin has portrayed a picture of an existential battle with the West. According to Moscow, the West is just using Ukraine as a tool to destroy Russia, rewrite its history, and demolish its traditional values. This interpretation of the events has been widely presented in official Russian media coverage of the conflict.

During his speech, Vladimir Putin stated that the conflict is the result of “untamed ambitions, arrogance, and impunity” on the part of Western nations.

He began by extending his greetings to the service members who were now serving in Ukraine and completed his remarks by saying, “To Russia!” to the valiant members of our armed forces! Onward and upward!”

The Russian Federation opened fire with a volley of cruise missiles on Ukraine earlier, just a few hours before the commencement of the Moscow parade, which is taking place this year amidst increased levels of security.

According to the Ukrainian air force, the forces controlled by the Kremlin launched 25 missiles overnight as part of a wave of attacks across Ukraine. The air force added that they were successful in destroying 23 of the missiles.

Eight Kalibr cruise missiles were launched from carriers in the Black Sea towards the east, according to a post made by the air force on Telegram. Another 17 cruise missiles were launched from strategic planes.

The barrage took place at the same time that Moscow and other cities were celebrating Victory Day with military parades and other festivities. Victory Day is Russia’s most important secular holiday, but it has been greatly overshadowed by the conflict in Ukraine this year.

At least 21 Russian cities, which are often the centerpiece of celebrations across the country, decided to cancel their May 9 military parades for the first time in years.

The Immortal Regiment processions, which are another important component of the festival and include crowds taking to the streets while clutching photos of relatives who died or served in World War II, have also been canceled in dozens of locations around the country.

However, some suspect that the underlying reason behind the cancellations was the worry that Russians may carry photos of relatives who died in Ukraine, highlighting the depth of Russia’s losses in the drawn-out battle. Regional officials cited undefined “security concerns” as the cause for the cancellations.

During Moscow’s flagship parade in Red Square, which was expected to project a show of might, top-notch military equipment was expected to rumble through it, and leaders of ex-Soviet nations were expected to stand beside Vladimir Putin.

At first, it was thought that only one of them, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov, would be in attendance. However, on Monday, officials revealed at the last minute that the heads of state from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan would also be traveling to Moscow for the summit.

The celebrations were scaled back after conflicting government reports were released the previous week claiming that two Ukrainian drones flew into the center of Moscow under the cover of darkness and neared the Kremlin before being shot down. These allegations came after the celebrations were held. The Kremlin has described the incident as an attempt on Mr. Putin’s life, although Ukraine has denied any involvement.