MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to portray Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies.
Speaking at a military parade on Monday marking the World War II victory over the Nazis, Putin drew a parallel between the Red Army’s fighting against Nazi troops and the action of Russian forces in Ukraine.
He said the campaign in Ukraine was a timely and necessary move to ward off what he described as “an absolutely unacceptable threat right next to our borders”.
“The danger was mounting,” he said, adding that “Russia preemptively repelled an aggression” in what he described as a “forced, timely decision and the only correct decision of a sovereign country , powerful and independent”.
The Russian leader again chastised the West for ignoring Russian demands for security guarantees and a return to NATO expansion, arguing that this left Moscow with no choice but to launch a action in Ukraine.
Putin said Russian troops were fighting for the country’s security in Ukraine and observed a minute’s silence to honor fallen troops. Putin noted that some of the troops participating in the parade had previously fought in Ukraine.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:
— More than 60 presumed dead in the bombing of a Ukrainian school
— “Everything shook”: the last civilians leave the Ukrainian steelworks
— G-7 leaders pledge to ban or reduce Russian oil imports
– Jill Biden pays surprise visit to Ukraine and meets first lady
Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
At least two people were reportedly arrested in Russian Siberia on Monday for carrying anti-war banners.
OVD-Info, a leading legal aid group that tracks political arrests, said one person was picketing in the Siberian city of Irkutsk with a sign reading “Peace”, and another person in Novosibirsk was arrested during the Immortal Regiment’s march through the city for carrying a banner that read, “I’m ashamed of you, grandchildren. We fought for peace, you chose war.
Immortal Regiment marches are taking place in many Russian cities on Monday, with Russians carrying portraits of loved ones who took part in World War II. In another Siberian region, Zabaykalye, Governor Alexander Osipov brought the portrait of a soldier who died in Ukraine to the march of the Immortal Regiment in the city of Chita.
LONDON – The United Kingdom is imposing steep tariffs on imports of platinum and palladium from Russia as part of a new sanctions package aimed at punishing President Vladimir Putin’s regime for the invasion of the Ukraine.
Britain plans to raise import duties on platinum, palladium and chemicals by 35 percentage points, restricting trade in products worth around 1.4 billion pounds (1 $.7 billion) a year for the Russian economy, Britain’s Department of Trade and Industry said in a statement. published Sunday evening. Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of both metals, widely used in products ranging from catalytic converters to cell phones.
The UK is also targeting Russian industries that depend on British products, banning the export of goods such as chemicals, plastics, rubber and machinery.
“We are determined to do everything possible to thwart Putin’s goals in Ukraine and undermine his illegal invasion, which saw barbaric acts perpetrated against the Ukrainian people,” Commerce Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said in a statement. “This far-reaching sanctions package will inflict further damage on the Russian war machine.”
LVIV, Ukraine — Satellite images analyzed by The Associated Press confirm that a school in eastern Ukraine, where some 60 people are believed to have been killed in a Russian airstrike, has been destroyed.
Photos taken by Planet Labs PBC show the Bilohorivka school in Ukraine’s Luhansk region standing on Saturday. An image taken on Sunday shows the building has been flattened.
Ukrainian officials said some 90 people took refuge in the school before it was razed. Around 30 people escaped, raising fears that around 60 people were killed.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt has said the Scandinavian country will donate an additional 100 million crowns ($10.5 million) to Ukraine.
Huitfeldt, who traveled to Kyiv on Sunday and met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, said the money would be used to pay pensions, social benefits and salaries of health workers, teachers and employees of the government.
“The need is great and the Ukrainian authorities will spend the money immediately,” Huitfeldt said in a statement.
LVIV, Ukraine – The Ukrainian military warns that there is a “high probability of missile strikes” as part of Russia’s war against the country.
The warning came Monday just before Russia’s Victory Day parade in Moscow.
The Ukrainian army general staff also said that in the Russian-controlled areas of Zaporizhzhia, Russian troops began the “seizure of personal documents of the local population without a valid reason”. Ukraine said Russian troops seized the documents to force local people to participate in Victory Day commemorations.
The Ukrainian military also warned that Russia had located some 19 battalion tactical groups in Russia’s Belgorod region, just across the border. These groups probably consist of some 15,200 soldiers with tanks, missile batteries and other weapons.
LVIV, Ukraine — The British military is warning that Russia is running out of precision-guided munitions, meaning Moscow will increasingly turn to inaccurate rockets and bombs that can spread destruction even wider.
The UK Ministry of Defense made the comment on Monday in a daily intelligence report it provides via Twitter.
The British military said that although Russia had claimed that “Ukrainian towns would therefore be safe from bombardment”, unguided munitions posed an increasing risk.
“As the conflict continues beyond Russian pre-war expectations, Russia’s stockpile of precision-guided munitions has likely been severely depleted,” the report said. “This has forced the use of readily available but aging ammunition that is less reliable, less accurate and less accurate and more easily intercepted.
The British added that Russia “will probably find it difficult to replace the precision weaponry it has already spent”.
TOKYO — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said Japan will phase out imports of Russian oil as part of the Group of Seven effort against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The leaders of the G-7 nations met online Sunday and announced their commitment to ban or phase out imports of Russian oil in their latest effort to pressure Moscow to end its aggression against the ‘Ukraine.
“This is an extremely difficult decision for a country that is mainly dependent on energy imports, including oil,” Kishida told reporters on Monday. “But the G-7 unity is most important right now.”
Kishida said it would be a gradual and slow process of phasing out Russian oil imports and the details and timing will be decided later as the process requires securing alternative energy sources.
About 4% of Japanese oil imports come from Russia. Japan also announced the phasing out of Russian coal imports.
Japan will not ban imports of its own stakes in oil and gas projects in Russia, including those in Sakhalin, Kishida said.
UNITED NATIONS – The UN chief says he is “appalled” by the reported attack on a school in the Ukrainian town of Bilohorivka, where many people were apparently seeking shelter from the fighting.
A UN spokesperson said on Sunday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reaffirms that civilians and civilian infrastructure must be spared under international law.
Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said: “This war must end and peace must be established in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law. The United Nations and its humanitarian partners in Ukraine will continue to support those whose lives have been shattered by war.
ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine — More than 170 people have been evacuated from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol after weeks of shelling and fighting as Russia tried to take control of the port city.
This is according to a statement on Sunday from Osnat Lubrani, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine.
The evacuees were taken to Zaporizhzhia, a town in southeastern Ukraine. Lubrani says more than 600 people have now been evacuated from the Mariupol area.
The most recent evacuation was the last effort to save people from the tunnels under the Azovstal steel mine, where Ukrainian fighters are trying to hold off Russian attackers.
The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross are coordinating the evacuations.
KYIV, Ukraine — Leaders of the Group of Seven’s developed democracies on Sunday pledged to eliminate or ban the import of Russian oil as they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for online talks to underscore their support and to show unity among Western allies on Victory Europe Day, which marks the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945.
Cutting off Russian oil supplies will ‘hit the main artery of (President Vladimir) Putin’s economy hard and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war’, the G-7 nations, which include states United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, France and Italy and Japan, said in a statement.
“We will ensure that we do this in a timely and orderly manner, and in a way that gives the world time to secure alternative supplies,” they added.
Looking back on World War II, the leaders stressed unity in their resolve that Putin must not win.
“We owe it to the memory of all who fought for freedom in World War II to continue to fight for it today, for the people of Ukraine, Europe and the global community,” they said.
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