Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday sought to cast Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies and a necessary move to ward off a potential aggression.
Speaking at a military parade on Red Square marking the World War II victory over the Nazis, Putin drew parallels between the Red Army’s fighting against the Nazi troops and the Russian forces’ intervention in Ukraine.
While slapping the West, Putin gave no indication of a shift in strategies or made any indication that he was going to declare a broad mobilization, as some in Ukraine and the West have feared. Addressing the phalanxes of elite Russian troops filling Red Square, Putin said the campaign in Ukraine was a necessary move to avert what he described as “a threat that was absolutely unacceptable to us (that) has been methodically created next to our borders.” The Russian leader has repeatedly accused Ukraine of harboring aggressive intentions, with support from the U.S. and its allies though Ukrainian and Western officials deny the claim.
In his speech at the parade, Putin again slapped the West for failing to heed Russian demands for security guarantees and a rollback to NATO’s expansion, arguing that it left Moscow no other choice but to launch an action in Ukraine. The Russian leader emphasized that the Russian troops were fighting for the country’s security in Ukraine and called a minute of silence to honor the soldiers who fell in combat. Putin noted that some of the troops taking part in the parade previously have fought in Ukraine.