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Russia marks Victory Day amid high tension between Moscow and Kiev

Russia marks Victory Day today in maximum security, at a time of high tension between Moscow and Kiev, with mutual accusations of air attacks and fears on both sides of taking advantage of the event for new attacks.

Victory Day, which celebrates the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, ending the Second World War in Europe, has the center of celebrations in Moscow, with a military parade in Red Square, whose access has been closed for several days, but in in at least 21 other Russian cities, or occupied regions in Ukraine, stops were cancelled.

The Russian President personally took the organization of the ceremonies into his own hands, having planned a speech, despite unconfirmed information from Ukrainian sources that admitted that Vladimir Putin will only speak in an ‘online’ format.

Although the vast majority of Russian military assets and soldiers are deployed in the invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022, Putin has the habit of using symbolic dates to carry out demonstrations of force, this year marked by strong security restrictions, which include a ban on ‘drones’ and app transport services in the country’s biggest cities and even ‘jet skis’ on the canals of St. Petersburg

Security concerns have been heightened since last week Russia accused Ukraine of launching two ‘drones’ into the Kremlin with the aim of assassinating Putin.

Amid several independent assessments that the attack was staged, Kiev has denied Moscow’s allegations, and also being behind other sabotage actions on Russian territory and bombings in annexed Crimea.

Ukraine has for its part seen an uptick in Russian airstrikes, which led to power cuts in six major regions of the country on Monday.

After another year of what Moscow called a “special military operation”, the situation on the ground has reached an impasse, with residual advances and retreats on both sides, at the cost of heavy casualties, especially in Bakhmut (east), where the since August the longest and bloodiest battle of this war, and when a Ukrainian counteroffensive is expected, which recently received heavy tanks and reinforcement of armament from its allies.

Putin considers the invasion of Ukraine as an existential war for Russia’s survival, using among his arguments the “denazification” of the Kiev regime, which returns the accusation.

The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, compared Russia’s offensive to Nazism, stating that “this evil” will be defeated as in 1945, and, in a new sign of Moscow’s removal, announced that the date of victory achieved in the Second War will be celebrated in his country on May 8, similar to what happens in the rest of Europe, or in the “free world” as he described it.

This change was praised by the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, who will be in Kiev today, after having presented the 11th package of sanctions against Russia to the Council of the European Union.

Despite fears in Ukraine and Russia that today’s date will be used to carry out more attacks, in addition to Von der Leyen in Kiev, several foreign leaders are expected in Moscow.

The President of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Zhaparov, arrived in the Russian capital on Monday and met with Vladimir Putin.

On the same day, authorities announced that Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon will also attend the festivities, along with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Kazakhstani leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

In 2020 and for the first time, the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Victory Day were postponed because of the covid-19 pandemic.

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