Also making news: Russian parents search for soldier sons, school bombing toll rises, Bono, Justin Trudeau, Jill Biden visits, Mariupol 4--year-old separated from mother, hacking Russian TV...
Today’s date May 9, marked annually in both Russia and Ukraine to commemorate the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi forces during World War II, has taken on additional meaning this year as the war in Ukraine rages on.
While weeks of speculation fizzled that Russia would have used the date for a major announcement about the war, there was much to unpack from the occasion.
In Russia, the celebration includes the symbolic “Victory Day” parade and imposing display of military power in Moscow’s Red Square. In Ukraine, the day offered another opportunity to unite the nation around the military effort agains the much larger Russian army.
And both nations’ leaders alluded to victory over the Nazis 77 years ago in their respective speeches, warning of a new threat similar to Hitler’s Germany.
President Vladimir Putin dedicated his speech to Russian troops currently deployed in southeastern Ukraine’s Donbas region” "You are fighting for the Motherland, for its future, so that no one forgets the lessons of World War II. So that there is no place in the world for executioners, castigators and Nazis," he said.
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky released a video message, declaring that the life that soldiers fought for during World War II had come to an end on February 24, when Russian forces invaded.
“The evil has returned again,” Zelensky said. “In a different form, under different slogans, but for the same purpose. On the Day of Victory over Nazism, we are fighting for a new victory. The road to it is difficult, but we have no doubt that we will win.”
There has been speculation leading up to the event, as some experts believe Putin might use the occasion to intensify the attack in Ukraine, while others suggest Russia may use this as an opportunity to pacify the situation and conclude its military operation.
Putin has repeatedly compared the war in Ukraine to the defense against Adolf Hitler’s 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union, both of which he views as combating Nazi-inspired nationalists.
The timing of the holiday prompted front-page headlines in both countries, and around the world:
Moscovskaya Pravda (Russia)
“Happy Victory Day!"
Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland)
“Russia, here is your victory day”
“The parade of false pretenses”
De Volkskrant (The Netherlands)
“All eyes on Putin”
Russian Ambassador To Poland Attacked With Red Paint
Ambasador Rosji oblany symboliczn\u0105 "krwi\u0105"\n#StopWar #StopWarInUkrainepic.twitter.com/sBvC1uTPhM— Piotr Halicki (@Piotr Halicki) 1652090772
Protesters splashed Russian Ambassador to Poland, Sergey Andreev, with red paint while visiting the Soviet Military Cemetery in Warsaw to mark Russia's annual Victory Day holiday, marking the end of World War II
Andreev was surrounded by activists holding Ukrainian flags. Poland, which neighbors Ukraine to the west, has been fiercely opposed to Moscow's invasion and has welcomed millions of Ukrainian refugees.
Russians Contacting Ukrainian Government In Search Of Missing Soldier Sons
Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine says it’s received a total of some 32,000 appeals for missing Russian soldiers. The direct contacting, which began in early March, includes 12,000 calls to a telephone hotline and 20,000 via a special bot from the Telegram channel “Look For Your Own.”
Toll From Luhansk School Bombing Rises To 60
A school in eastern Ukraine has been destroyed by Russian bombing. Up to 60 people hiding in the school are feared dead, including many civilians.pic.twitter.com/sUi5ufymBy— South China Morning Post (@South China Morning Post) 1652081520
The toll from the Russian bombing of a school shelter in Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, is now estimated at 60 people dead, with 27 reported survivors. Western countries have condemned the bombing, with Amnesty International declaring that Russian forces “must face justice for a series of war crimes.”
Britain Announces New Sanctions On Russia
The UK has announced $2.2 billion worth of new sanctions against Russia and Belarus in response to the invasion of Ukraine. These include UK import tariffs on metals like palladium and platinum and other chemicals from Russia.
The announcement came after G7 leaders including Boris Johnson and U.S. President Joe Biden held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to show support and unity with Ukraine ahead of the May 9 annual holiday.
Kyiv-based news website Livy Bereg looks at how the sanctions are slowly, and steadily, sending the Russian economy into total collapse.
Meet Alisa, A Four-Year-Old Separated From Her Mother In Mariupol
During the last evacuation from Azovstal, the steel plant in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, military medic Victoria Obidina and her four-year-old daughter Alisa were separated.
According to previous reports, Victoria is now being held in the Russian-controlled filtration camp in Mangush, in southern Ukraine. The fate of Alisa’s father is unknown.
As for the little girl, she left Mariupol with several other refugees, heading to the safer city of Zaporizhzhya. It was there that she was recognized a journalist as she slept alone on the backseat of the bus. Alisa is now reportedly staying with her relatives.
"Blood On Your Hands": Activists Hack Into Russian TV
Pro-Ukrainian computer hackers have made an “appearance” on Russian television.
"On your hands is the blood of thousands of Ukrainians and hundreds of dead children. TV and the authorities are lying. No to war…" This was the message that appeared in the descriptions of TV channels and programs overnight between May 8 and 9.
A similar inscription appeared in the description of the programs of the Yandex.TV service, but soon it disappeared from the service's page.
It is also reported that hackers on May 9 hackers attacked the video service Rutube, making its webpage impossible to open. At around 8 a.m., representatives of the service said that they had "localized the incident," but access to the site was not restored.
Surprise Visits From Justin Trudeau And Jill Biden
U.S. First Lady Jill Biden made an unannounced trip to Uzhhorod in Ukraine on Sunday to meet with her Ukrainian counterpart Olena Zelenska. This makes the first lady the latest high profile American to visit the country.
Biden told Zelenska that it was important for her to come on Mother’s Day (celebrated in some parts of the world) as a symbol to show her support for Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, also made an unannounced visit. He was seen in the Ukrainian town, Irpin. During his trip, he announced the reopening of the Canadian embassy in Kyiv as well as more military support from Canada to Ukraine.
Canada, like other western countries, has imposed economic sanctions on Russia and sent military aid to Ukraine. Canada’s government has also created a special program for Ukrainians and their families to apply for a temporary resident visa.
Bono & The Edge Impromptu Concert In Kyiv Metro
U2 band members Bono and The Edge showed their support for Ukraine by performing in a subway station on Sunday in Kyiv, in a concert lasting 40 minutes.
Bono told the crowd of 100 gathered inside the station: “Your president leads the world in the cause of freedom right now […] the people of Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you’re fighting for all of us who love freedom.”