Russia fires missiles at Ukraine as Putin presides over parade | Inquirer News

Russia fires missiles at Ukraine as Putin presides over parade

/ 03:40 PM May 09, 2023

Russia fires missiles at Ukraine

An explosion is seen in the sky over the city during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine May 9, 2023. REUTERS

KYIV — Russian cruise missiles exploded in the air over Kyiv on Tuesday and tanks and soldiers assembled in Red Square for a military parade, as Moscow marked the anniversary of victory over the Nazis with a new attack on Ukraine.

Ukraine said its air defenses shot down 23 of 25 missiles, fired chiefly at the capital Kyiv, and there were no reported casualties. It was the second night in a row of major Russian air strikes and fifth so far this month.


“Overnight into the ‘sacred’ May 9, (they) launched an attack on the territory of Ukraine,” Ukraine’s air force said on its Telegram messaging app.


Sergei Popko, head of the Kyiv city military administration, said the Russians were trying to kill civilians. “As at the front, the plans of the aggressor failed.”

Debris fell on a house in the Holosiivskyi district in the southwest of Kyiv but caused little damage, Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitschko said. Debris lay in a road in the often-targeted Shevchenkivskyi district of central Kyiv.

Moscow denies targeting civilians and says its air strikes are aimed at reducing Ukraine’s ability to fight.

It has stepped up its attacks this month in anticipation of a looming Ukrainian counteroffensive, after a failed Russian winter campaign captured little ground despite the bloodiest ground combat in Europe since World War Two.

May 9, which marks the day of Germany’s surrender in 1945, is the most important holiday in Russia under President Vladimir Putin, who says his country is again fighting for survival after what the West calls his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Kyiv symbolized its break from Moscow this year by formally shifting its observance of Victory Day to May 8 in line with its European allies; on May 9 it is marking Europe Day, celebrating the founding of the body that became the European Union.


It hosted EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who tweeted a picture of herself arriving at Kyiv station by train.

“Good to be back in Kyiv. Where the values we hold dear are defended everyday,” she wrote, calling it a “such a fitting place to celebrate the day of Europe.”

In Moscow, Putin welcomed the leaders of ex-Soviet allies Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan at the Kremlin before taking their places on the dais outside.

State television broadcast pictures of tanks and nuclear capable strategic ballistic missiles parked on the square, where dignitaries assembled under sunny skies for the parade. Ranks of soldiers in dress uniforms saluted.

The Soviet victory over the Nazis is Russia’s defining state story under Putin, who says independent Ukraine now represents a return of the World War Two threat.

Ukraine, which suffered greater per capita losses than Russia in World War Two, says Moscow’s account of the shared history has been distorted to justify Russian aggression.


The parade comes at a crucial juncture in the war, with Kyiv preparing to launch a counteroffensive in coming weeks after keeping its troops on the defensive for the past six months.

During that time, Russia launched a major winter campaign, enduring huge losses in the bloodiest ground fighting in Europe since World War Two but making scant gains.

Kyiv says Russia tried and failed to capture the eastern city of Bakhmut in time for the holiday to give Putin a trophy for the campaign.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose private army Wagner made up mainly of convicts recruited from prison led Russia’s fighting in Bakhmut for months, has threatened to abandon the city, accusing generals of withholding the ammunition his forces need.

On Tuesday he said the ammunition had still not arrived but he did not want to “spoil” the Victory Day parade and would reveal more details later.

Reflecting increased security concerns, including from drones that nearly struck a Kremlin dome last week, Russian authorities have cancelled the traditional flyover for Tuesday’s parade in Moscow.

Parades in some other cities have been cancelled. There have also been reports of fewer soldiers and less military hardware joining this year’s parade as the Ukraine conflict takes a heavy toll on men and equipment.

Authorities nationwide have cancelled the “Immortal Regiment” processions, where people carry portraits of relatives who fought against the Nazis.

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TAGS: Conflict, Russia Victory Day, Russia-Ukraine war

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