Putin stated in his annual address marking the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany on May 9 that “a real war has been unleashed against Russia” and that Russia has repelled international terrorism and will continue to “defend” residents in Donbas, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank said.
He sought to reinforce his long-standing rhetoric aimed at preparing the Russian public for a protracted war in Ukraine by evoking the memory of World War II, the ISW observed in its latest analysis of Russia's military campaign in Ukraine.
Putin additionally attempted to use Russia's Victory Day celebrations to rally Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) partners, many of which have sought to reduce their reliance on the Kremlin since February 2022, according to the ISW.
The Washington-based think tank reported that Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko as well as Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev joined Putin at the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square on Tuesday.
'Further degradation of the Russian military'
The ISW also said that Russia's Victory Day events "showcased far less military equipment than usual" and "demonstrated the further degradation of the Russian military."
Russia invaded Ukraine by land, air and sea on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.
Wednesday is day 441 of Russia's war against Ukraine.
Source: PAP, understandingwar.org