Moscow Victory Day: Russia pulls back annual parade as Putin’s war in Ukraine comes under increasing pressure

(CNN) Thousands of people People will line the streets of Moscow’s Red Square on Tuesday as part of Russia’s anniversary celebrations Victory Day ParadeWhen contrasted with its faltering military campaign on the front of the Kremlin’s military prowess and pomp In Ukraine.

But many parts of Russia — many near the border with Ukraine — have scaled back preparations for the May 9 show due to security concerns and a lack of military equipment to display.

Moscow parade a An exhibition of patriotism Refers to the Soviet Union’s role in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II. On May 8, 1945, (May 9 Moscow time) Germany signed the instrument of surrender in Berlin, ending hostilities in Europe. The Soviet Union suffered the highest casualties of any country – some 27 million soldiers and civilians died.

It is the most important day in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calendar, as he has long used it to rally popular support and demonstrate the country’s military might. Ahead of the parade, the Russian leader paid tribute to “those whose unparalleled achievements on the battlefields and selfless labor in the rear made it possible to crush the Nazi invaders and protect the freedom of their own land.”

“Today, it is our moral duty to sacredly preserve the traditions of friendship and mutual assistance handed down by our fathers and grandfathers, not to allow the historical truth about the Great Patriotic War to be distorted, as well as the justifications of the Nazis, their allies, and current ideological successors,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Monday.

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But in light of two recent Kremlin drone strikes, deep divisions among senior Russian officials over war tactics and an expected Ukrainian spring offensive, tensions in Moscow are at an all-time high ahead of the second march since Russia launched its invasion.

Russian soldiers rehearse Sunday for the Victory Day parade, when Moscow aims to demonstrate its military might.
Many Russian regions have scaled back Victory Day celebrations due to insufficient military equipment for display.

Putin historically led the annual military parade through Red Square with displays of military hardware including tanks, missiles and other weapons systems before a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin wall. Died in battles.

He is due to deliver his annual speech at a ceremony in the capital that is expected to draw more than 10,000 people and display 125 units of various types of weapons and equipment, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Last year the ministry announced that 11,000 people and 131 types of weapons were involved in the military parade, with an aerial display of 77 planes and helicopters.

World leaders like former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former UN Secretary General Kobi Annan have attended the military parade in previous years. But such glimpses of unity have faded in recent years, after Putin’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 and the war in Ukraine severing diplomatic ties.

Moscow will be under pressure to strengthen its security and unity on Tuesday after last week It is said to be a drone attack The most powerful symbol of the Russian president was broken in the Kremlin.

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Kyiv and its Western allies have exchanged barbed notes with Moscow after Ukraine accused it of carrying out US orders in an assassination attempt against Putin. Ukraine and Washington strongly denied the allegations.

The cause of the explosions is unknown, but the optics of a symbolic attack on the Kremlin have given Putin an opportunity to rally support from Russians as critics continue to speak out against Moscow’s full-scale invasion.

On Monday, Russian oligarch Andrei Kovalev called Moscow’s military campaign “a terrible war.”

“The whole world is against us,” he said in a video message later shared on Telegram.

Meanwhile, relations between senior Russian officials have soured after Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin on Thursday threatened to withdraw his troops from the city of Bakhmut because of insufficient support from the Kremlin.

Prigogine appeared walk back In his comments on Sunday, however, the heated outburst pointed to a lack of morale as Russian forces struggle to break through a key battleground in eastern Ukraine, ahead of an expected spring offensive from Kiev in the south.

‘Evil is back’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday suggested moving Ukraine’s Victory Day parade a day earlier so it would not coincide with Moscow’s celebrations.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky compared Russia to Nazi Germany Moving victory day A bill submitted to lawmakers in an attempt to exclude Gay from the Kremlin’s celebrations a day ahead of the celebrations.

Like Russia, Ukraine traditionally commemorates the victory over the Nazis on May 9, but that date is increasingly associated with a parade in Moscow.

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“It is on May 8 that most of the world remembers the greatness of the victory over the Nazis,” Zelensky said on Monday.

“We will not allow the collective victory of the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition to be appropriated, and we will not allow lies as if the victory could have happened without the participation of any country or nation.”

Comparing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to Hitler’s expansionist goals, Zelensky said the goal of both regimes was the same — “enslavement or destruction.”

“Unfortunately, evil has returned,” he said. “Then evil rushed into our towns and villages, as it does now, as before it killed our people, so it does now.”

CNN’s Angela Dewan and Katharina Krebs contributed reporting.

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