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May 9, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has started his Victory Day speech in Moscow's Red Square by telling Russian fighters they are fighting for the security of Russia now.

"You are fighting for your motherland, its future. The death of every soldier and officer is painful for us," he said.

"The state will do everything to take care of these families," he added.

He has congratulated veterans on day of "great victory". Victory Day celebrates the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

'Special military operation' was necessary and timely

Putin continues his speech by saying Russia's "special military operation" in Ukraine - what the Kremlin calls the invasion - was a necessary and "timely" measure.

He says it was the "right decision" of an independent, strong, sovereign country.

NATO 'an obvious threat' to Russia

Putin says over the past year there were tensions with other European nations, and NATO.

He says Russia "urged Europe to find a fair compromise, but they didn't want to hear us" and says they were preparing a punitive operation in Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, where he has said Russia's operations are now focused.

"In Kyiv they were saying they might get nuclear weapons and NATO started exploring the lands close to us and that became an obvious threat to our country and to our borders. Everything was telling us that there is a need to fight."

Russian military cheer end of Putin's speech after accusing West of intending to attack Russia

Vladimir Putin says the West did not want to listen to Russia, and they had other plans.

The West, he said, was preparing for "invasion of our land".

The Russian leader has now finished his speech at the Victory Day parade in Moscow.

Troops in Red Square cheered at the end of his speech and Russia's national anthem was played whilst cannons fired.

End the War Immediately, NATO Chief tells Putin
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has used Victory Day to call on Russia's leader to end the war in Ukraine immediately.

He's told German newspaper Die Welt that Vladimir Putin should pull his troops back from Ukraine and start peace negotiations. "We stand firmly by Ukraine's side and will continue to help the country assert its right to self-defence," he says.

Stoltenberg says the Russian president has regularly used his 9 May address to spread falsehoods about the West and criticise NATO: "I expect Putin again on 9 May this year to spread lies about NATO and the West as a whole."

He has rejected Russia's claims that Nato has actedly aggressively, insisting it's a defensive alliance built to secure peace and uphold the values of freedom and democracy.

Source: BBC
Image Source: Pixabay