Russia Steps Up Attacks on Ukraine Ahead of Victory Day Parade
Russia continued to step up attacks against Ukraine on Monday, launching a wave of drone, missile and air strikes into Kyiv and the regions of Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odesa, and Zaporizhzhia.
- Russia continued to step up attacks against Ukraine on Monday, launching a wave of drone, missile and air strikes into Kyiv and the regions of Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odesa, and Zaporizhzhia. Ukraine's military said Russia launched 16 missiles, 61 air strikes and 52 rocket salvos, adding that it destroyed all 35 drones that Russia had deployed.1
- In Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said five civilians were injured by falling drone debris. Meanwhile, one civilian was killed and another was reportedly injured in Zaporizhzhia. Nine civilians were reported injured in Kherson, while a further seven were reported injured in Kharkiv. Two civilians were also reported injured in Donetsk where fighting has remained constant throughout the conflict.2
- Russia's attacks come a day before it commemorates Victory Day on May 9 — marking the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. The typically triumphant parade in Moscow's Red Square — a centerpiece of Russian Pres. Putin's 23 years in charge — was this year reportedly organized under a cloud of nervousness, even prior to the sighting of drones which crashed into the roof of a Kremlin building last week.3
- Dozens of Russian cities and regions canceled local Victory Day parades — particularly those near the Ukrainian border — for fear of being targeted in attacks. Among them are the border regions of Bryansk and Belgorod, as well as the peninsula of Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014; all of the areas have come under repeated Ukrainian attacks since the outbreak of the conflict last year.4
- Moscow will hold a scaled-back parade, reportedly involving 129 units of military equipment compared to last year's 191. 11K troops will reportedly take part, down from 12K the year before. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the march of the Immortal Regiment — a civilian procession where pictures of family members who participated in the war are carried by participants — was cancelled. He cited terrorism concerns.5
- Meanwhile, on Monday, Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy proposed to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's Parliament) that May 8 be established as its Day of Remembrance and Victory over Nazism in World War II. He further suggested May 9 should not be celebrated as Victory Day, but instead as Europe Day.6
Sources: 1New York Post, 2UKRINFORM, 3Guardian, 4Vietnam Posts English, 5Newsweek, and 6Ukrainska Pravda.
- Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by TASS. Unfortunately, Russia has to deal with a state that condones acts of terrorism. For this reason, Moscow has to take precautionary measures to protect civilians such as, in this case, cancelling the march of the Immortal Regiment. People have instead been urged to celebrate in other ways, so that the historic day can be appreciated while security is upheld.
- Pro-Ukraine narrative, as provided by Ukrainska Pravda. Ukraine lost eight million people in the period 1939 to 1945, and it will not have its contribution to the defeat of Nazis erased. Many countries fought in the anti-Hitler coalition and Ukraine will not allow Russia to appropriate the historical narrative surrounding Hitler's defeat for its own purposes. Kyiv and the West are today engaged in a fight against evil that echoes the 20th century battle against fascism in Germany.