President Vladimir Putin says Russia will come out victorious in Ukraine as it won World War II in 1945.
The Russian leader vowed on Sunday that “as in 1945, victory will be ours.” He made the remarks while congratulating ex-Soviet nations on the 77th anniversary of “the Victory in the Great Patriotic War” that led to the defeat of Nazi Germany on May 9.
“Today, our soldiers, as their ancestors, are fighting side by side to liberate their native land from the Nazi filth with the confidence that, as in 1945, victory will be ours.”
Putin ordered the launch of the “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, in a declared goal of demilitarizing and "de-Nazifying" the European country.
Russia is now pushing for the complete control of the Donbas region, where pro-Russia forces held parts of breakaway Luhansk and Donetsk provinces even before the military offensive.
Putin sent congratulations to leaders and people of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic, as well as to the peoples of Georgia and Ukraine, which were all once part of the Soviet Union.
Donetsk and Luhansk were turned into self-proclaimed republics by ethnic Russians in 2014. That led to a bloody conflict between the government forces and armed separatists. Before launching its operation in Ukraine, Moscow officially recognized the breakaway Ukrainian regions.
“Today, it is our common duty to prevent the rebirth of Nazism which caused so much suffering to the peoples of different countries,” Putin stated.
He hoped “new generations may be worthy of the memory of their fathers and grandfathers.”
The Russian president also made multiple references not just to soldiers but also civilians on the “home front … who smashed Nazism at the cost of countless sacrifices.”
Putin, who believes the Kiev government is in the grip of fascism and a threat to Russia and ethnic Russians in Donbas, said, “Sadly, today, Nazism is rearing its head once more.”
Urging Russians to take revenge on Nazism and fascism in Ukraine, Putin said “our sacred duty is to hold back the ideological successors of those who were defeated” in World War II.
On Monday, Moscow will officially commemorate victory over Nazi Germany with a giant military parade.
Moscow: Russia hits Ukrainian warship near Odesa, downs two bombers
Separately on Sunday, Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement it had destroyed a Ukrainian navy ship – a ‘Project 1241’ corvette, a class of Soviet missile corvettes which NATO names ‘Tarantul’ – in the vicinity of Odesa with a missile strike overnight.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said air defenses also managed to shoot down two Ukrainian SU-24 bombers and a Mi-24 helicopter over the Snake Island in the Black Sea at night. It said air defense forces destroyed a communications post at the Chervonoglinskoye airstrip.
“During the night, Russian Aerospace Forces destroyed a mechanize brigade command post near Pyatikhatka, Kharkov Region, and a communications post at the Chervonoglinskoye airstrip near the settlement of Artsyz,” Konashenkov said.
The statement read that a total of four Ukrainian warplanes, four helicopters and an assault boat had also been destroyed during the previous 24 hours.
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