Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, released a heartfelt video, likening Russia’s war crimes to Nazi atrocities during the Second World War.
“Darkness has returned to Ukraine the decades after the Second World War… The evil has returned,” he said in a video address filmed near the rubble of a charred apartment block in a Kyiv suburb.
“We will overcome everything, and we know this for sure, because our military and all our people are descendants of those who defeated Nazism.”
Russia’s “doomsday plane” made headlines in 2020 when thieves broke in and stole equipment. A modernized version of the plane, which was seen last week above the outskirts of Moscow, has been announced.
In the US, a version of the “doomsday” plane for Joe Biden, the US president, was seen in southern California last week. The E-4B Nightwatch aircraft can be used either in the case of a national emergency or the destruction of command and control centres.
Russian authorities have stepped up anti-Western propaganda in anticipation of Victory Day, with exhibitions of Nato “cruelty” opening in 20 cities.
In a visitor book in Moscow, the BBC last week saw scribbled Z symbols and exhortations to “free Ukraine from Nazis”, as well as a note calling it all “very stupid propaganda”.
On Sunday, a video emerged of a young child dressed in costume as a Russian tank, labelled with the Z symbol, apparently rehearsing a Victory Day parade at his school.