Russia Victory Parade LIVE: Putin blames West for war as UK says Ukraine could ‘break’ Red Army

V

ladimir Putin has delivered a speech in Moscow’s Red Square in which he blamed the West for his war in Ukraine.

It came as a huge military parade was taking place in the capital to mark Russia’s “Victory Day”.

At the same time, the UK’s defense secretary said it is possible Ukraine could “break” the Russian army. “It is very possible that Ukraine will break the Russian army to the extent that they either have to go back to pre-February or they have to effectively … it folds in on itself,” Ben Wallace said in London.

The Victory Day Parade is one of the most significant events in the country. Held on May 9, it marks the end of World War II in Europe with the defeat and surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945.

Some Russians and Western analysts believed Mr. would use his speech at the Putin parade to declare the “special military operation” in Ukraine – as the Kremlin insisted it be called – as a full-fledged war.

It comes as British defense chiefs said Mr Putin’s forces were having to fire “ageing” munitions in Ukraine after using up many of their precision-guided weapons.

Just hours before the Russian president was due to oversee the military parade, the UK Ministry of Defense stressed the “shortcomings” of Russia’s army to carry out precision strikes “at scale”.

Live updates

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Pictured: Moscow’s ‘Victory Day’ parade

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US Treasury issues fresh sanctions on Russia

The US Treasury has issued fresh sanctions on Russia including on individuals linked to Sberbank.

Sberbank is the country’s biggest bank. It comes amid plans set out by the European Union for the bank to be cut off from the SWIFT international payment system.

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Ursula von der Leyen to meet Hungary’s PM to discuss energy supply

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban will meet in Budapest on Monday.

The pair will discuss issues related to European security of energy supply, a spokesman said.

It comes amid tensions from some EU countries on sanctions on Russian energy.

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UN human rights body to hold meeting on Ukraine

The UN’s top human rights body will hold a special session on Ukraine this week, after calls from Kyiv.

Diplomats told the Reuters news agency that the meeting, set to take place on Thursday, could include a resolution that would task the newly formed Commission of Inquiry into the war with providing a detailed report to the council later this year.

Among at least 55 signatory countries to a letter requesting the meeting were Germany, Britain, Turkey and the United States.

Diplomats supporting Ukraine said the expression of solidarity was important amid fears that Russian attacks could intensify as Moscow marks Victory Day, commemorating World War Two.

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Defense Secretary resists calls to expand size of army

While hinting earlier in the day that defense spending should go up as a result of the war, the Defense Secretary has pushed back against calls to expand the size of the Army.

Ben Wallace told a conference at King’s College London that he did not want “hollow forces”, but would concentrate on ensuring the existing Army “did what it said on the tin”.

He said: “If I got some new money, would I suddenly treble the size of the infantry? I’m not sure.”

Mr Wallace added: “We get lots of Top Trump collectors who say ‘look at all these Type 45s’. Yeah, well none of them work, or three of them work and the rest are tied up and have been for years.

“What is the point in boasting you’ve got so many units if they’re not properly wrapped, as I call it.”

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Wallace: Russia could use brutality to win war

Vladimir Putin could still use “brutality” to win the war in Ukraine, the British Defense Secretary has warned.

Speaking at a King’s College London conference, Ben Wallace said Russia’s “battle-winning components” of technology, leadership and intelligence had all failed.

He said: “There is one component he still has in his back pocket, which we should really worry about, which is brutality.

“If you win your war by killing, murdering, raping, bombing civilian territories, breaching all human rights, all Geneva Conventions, corruption, and that becomes the battle-winning component, the message that sends around the world to other adversaries around the world is incredibly dangerous.

“That you don’t need to have all the best kit or the best training or appropriate rule of law, you just need to be able to be more brutal than the other person and more prepared to destroy everything in your path.”

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Best way out of war ‘is Ukraine military victory’

The best way out of the war waged by Russia is “if Ukraine wins militarily”, the country’s ambassador to the UK has said.

Speaking at a conference at King’s College London on Monday, Vadym Prystaiko said defeating President Vladimir Putin in the “fields of war” may ultimately be better for Russians themselves.

“If you allow yourself … the idea that actually Russia can be defeated on the fields of war, you will allow yourself to think and find a way what to do, maybe it would be even better for Russians themselves,” he said.

The ambassador added that, once the conflict is over, the cost of rebuilding the country should not fall to “western taxpayers” and Russia should pay “for everything”.

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Russian forces ‘ Soviet carry imprint of amorality ‘

The Defense Secretary also said Russian suffering was used under the Soviets “as it is now, to cover up the inadequacy of those ruling in safety and comfort from behind the Kremlin walls”.

“Fear and sycophancy dictated behaviors then, and today’s Russian armed forces still carry that Soviet imprint – the imprint of amorality and corruption,” he said.

“They are the ones who truly insult the memory of the Immortal Regiment. So let’s call out the absurdity of Russian generals resplendent in their manicured parade uniforms, weighed down by the gold braid and glistening metals.

“They are utterly complicit in’s hijacking Putin of their forebears’ proud history of defending against the ruthless invasion, of repelling fascism and sacrificing themselves for higher purpose.

“And now they are the ones inflicting needless suffering in the service of lowly gangsterism and for them, and for Putin, there can be no victory day, only dishonour and surely defeat in Ukraine.”

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Russian military incompetence is ‘betrayal of their own people’

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Russia’s military “incompetence” was a “betrayal” of their own people while making clear he was not expressing sympathy for Russian soldiers suffering in the war.

Speaking at the Defense of Europe conference hosted by King’s College London, Mr Wallace said there had been a “failure of the general staff of the Russian army to both, I suppose, speak truth to power but also to prepare their forces properly”.

He said he was not attempting to show sympathy for the Russian forces, adding it was an illegal war and “every soldier, whether they’re junior or senior, has a responsibility in that”.

Mr Wallace described the “incompetence in the Russian general staff” and said: “From a professional point of view as a soldier, you have to marvel at the sort of betrayal, really, of many of those people.”

He also spoke about the need for a “long-term plan” through Nato on how to respond to Russia and President Putin to “contain Russia” and “reassure our allies”, and provide “resilience” to other allies.

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Russia is ‘aggressive neighbor’, says Estonian leader

Estonian President Alar Karis has called Russia an “aggressive neighbor,” saying that “instead of peace and hope, they have decided war and evil.”

He spoke on Monday in a video address to Ukraine on Twitter.

Karis is head of state in the Baltic country where memories of the former Soviet rule are still fresh. The three Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — were annexed during World War II and regained their independence with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Baltic nations joined NATO in 2004, putting themselves under the military protection of the United States and its Western allies.

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