- Putin gives major address to mark Victory Day celebrations in Russia
- Zelenskyy says 60 people dead in Russian bomb attack on a Luhansk school
- Japan says will ban Russian oil imports 'in principal'
- UK imposes new sanctions, Canada vows further military aid
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Retired US general Ben Hodges: Russia has 'no victory to celebrate'
Russia marked the 77th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany with its annual May 9 military parade in Moscow on Monday.
Retired US Lieutenant General Ben Hodges told DW that the parade gives some indication as to the current state of Russia's level of defense.
"It didn't have the feel of a nation that is winning in a major conflict with such high stakes as the president described them," Hodges said. "And it also didn't have the feel that they were getting ready to really launch into something. You didn't feel any momentum coming out of it."
Hodges noted that the Russians had not achieved significant military gains, and much of that was down to dogged defense on the part of Ukrainian forces, which he likened to the mythical Spartan 300.
"I think the problem for the Russians is that they have no victory to celebrate. I mean, every single thing that they have tried to do has generally failed. Even Mariupol, which should have been gone in the first week. You still have these incredibly tough Ukrainian troops that are still holding out. And I think these guys are going to be compared to the 300 Spartans for a long time."
Macron, Scholz promote total Russian withdrawal
French President Emmanuel Macron has made his first trip to Berlin since winning re-election. During the visit, both Macron and Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreed that only a permanent withdrawal of all Russian troops could end the war, but that a truce was a good interim solution.
"What we want to achieve is a ceasefire, as soon as possible," Macron said.
This, he added, was the only way to make headway in the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia and, ultimately, a permanent pullback of the Russian military. "That is our goal," he said.
Macron stressed that Ukraine should be supported in peace negotiations, the terms of which would be decided by Ukraine itself. "Our position is on the side of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, nothing more, nothing less," Macron said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that it was "important that de-escalation is now pushed further." However, it was inconceivable that Ukraine would accept a "dictated peace" that would impose conditions that it could not accept for its sovereignty and integrity as a nation, he said.
European Council chief: 'Silos' of food stuck in Odesa
The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, lamented that "silos full'' of food for export were blocked in the Black Sea port of Odesa during his visit there.
In a tweet, Michel said he was with Ukrainian officials examining the effect of Russian missile attacks on the port. "I saw silos full of grain, wheat and corn ready for export,'' Michel wrote. "This badly needed food is stranded because of the Russian war and blockade of Black sea ports. Causing dramatic consequences for vulnerable countries. We need a global response.''
As one of the world's leading exporters of grain, UN officials have warned that failure for these products to ship will exacerbate food shortages around the globe, particularly in some of the most vulnerable countries.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a statement said he spoke with Michel during the Odesa visit. "It is important to prevent a food crisis in the world caused by Russia's aggressive actions,'' Zelenskyy said. "Immediate measures must be taken to unlock Ukrainian ports for wheat exports.''
Von der Leyen to press Orban on Russian oil embargo
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was traveling to Budapest to discuss "issues related to European security of energy supply," as Prime Minister Viktor Orban continues to stymy an all-out embargo on Russian oil.
Hungary, along with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which are all highly reliant on Russian energy supplies, have been pursuing more generous phase-out plans as the bloc struggles to agree on a timeline for the proposed embargo. Indeed, they have already secured a partial delay on the plan until next year.
Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto threatened in parliament to veto the sanctions package in its current form, wary of the economic damage. For his own part, Orban last week described the planned oil ban as "tantamount to an atom bomb being dropped on the Hungarian economy."
Under the current commission proposals, the European Union is to first phase out imports of Russian crude oil within six months and
refined products by the end of the year to cut off a major source of revenue to the Kremlin.
Germany's Scholz, China's Xi talk Ukraine
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has held a video conference with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. According to German goverment spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, the talk focused on how the conflict in Ukraine has impacted global food supplies and energy security.
Chinese state television reported that Xi had warned against an escalation of the war during the call.
"All efforts must be made to avoid an intensification and expansion of the conflict, leading to an unmanageable situation," Xi was quoted
as saying. In an apparent reference to US influence, Xi stressed that European security should be "in the hands of Europeans themselves." Although China has avoided outright condoning Russia actions, it has largely blamed NATO expansionism for the war.
The conversation was described by the Chinese side as "deep and frank," which usually indicates some major differences in opinion.
German government confirms cyberattacks on systems
Germany's government bodies and ministries have been hit by a series of cyberattacks in recent days, the Interior Ministry said.
The attacks did cause any data to be leaked and no permanent damage was caused, a ministry spokesperson said.
The attacks were "Distributed Denial of Service" attacks, or DDoS, which try to crash servers due to a flood of requests.
News magazine Der Spiegel reported earlier that the attacks targeted Germany's Defense Ministry, the federal police service and the lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz's website was also reportedly affected.
Following the attacks, Russian hacker group "Killnet" claimed responsibility on the messaging service Telegram.
Russian shelling hits Odesa
At least four high-precision Onyx missiles fired from the Russian-controlled Crimea peninsula hit the Odesa area in southern Ukraine, the Reuters news agency reported, citing the Ukrainian military.
"Odesa has been hit again today, now that's three days in a row that rockets have been fired on that city or the surrounding areas," said DW correspondent Mathias Bölinger.
European Council President Charles Michel was visiting Odesa on Monday to mark the anniversary of the end of WWII.
According to an EU official quoted by the AFP news agency, Michel was forced to break off a meeting and take cover as missiles were hitting Odesa.
"During the meeting with the [Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal], the participants needed to interrupt the meeting to take shelter as missiles struck again the region of Odesa," the official told AFP.
Earlier on Monday, Michel wrote on Twitter that he was in Odesa, "the city where [poet Alexander] Pushkin said that 'you can feel Europe.'"
"And where today the Ukrainian people shield their monuments from bullets and rockets and their freedom from Russian aggression," Michel added.
Russian envoy to Poland splattered by red paint
Anti-war protesters in Poland threw red paint at Russia's Ambassador Sergey Andreev, preventing him from paying respects at a Warsaw cemetery to Red Army soldiers who died during World War II.
"In Warsaw, during the laying of a wreath at the cemetery of Soviet soldiers, an attack was carried out on the Russian ambassador to Poland, Sergei Andreev, and the Russian diplomats accompanying him," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram.
Zakharova blamed the attack on "neo-Nazism," repeating Russia's claim that it is fighting to "denazify" Ukraine.
Images released by Russian media showed Andreev with red paint splattered across his face as he was surrounded by a chanting crowd, some holding Ukrainian flags.
EU aims to give 'opinion' on Ukraine's membership bid in June
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU would respond to Ukraine's request to join the 27-member bloc in June.
Von der Leyen said she had spoken to Ukraian President Volodomyr Zelensky and was looking forward to receiving the answers to the EU membership questionnaire.
"The EU Commission will aim to deliver its opinion in June," the EU chief said on Twitter.
German police say man climbed tower and raised Soviet flag
Authorities are looking for a suspect who climbed a tower and raised a Soviet-era flag in the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
In a statement on Monday, police said the man scaled a 30 meter-tall (98 foot-tall) radio tower in the town of Ribnitz-Damgarten. The man then affixed a red flag of the former Soviet Union to the tower.
The local fire department was able to remove the flag. An eye witness told police they saw the man climb the tower and said he spoke in "broken German," but couldn't describe them further.
The incident happened on Sunday, coming amid commemorations for the end of World War II on May 8 and May 9, and tensions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Russian negotiator: Peace talks ongoing — report
The Interfax news agency quoted Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky as saying that peace talks with Ukraine had not stopped and were being held remotely.
Asked when-in person talks might be held, Medinsky said, "We need more specifics on hand in order to meet in person."
Further details on the reported talks were not immediately available.
Last week, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that "regaining the situation as of the 23rd of February" — the day before the invasion — was Kyiv's prerequisite for talks.
Zelenskyy had said earlier that there was a high risk that peace talks would end, citing public
anger with what he said were Russian atrocities.
UK defense minister: Putin 'mirroring fascism and tyranny' of WWII
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace slammed "the absurdity" of Russia's bemedaled military top brass at the annual Victory Day parade in Moscow.
"All professional soldiers should be appalled at the behaviour of the Russian Army," Wallace, himself a former soldier said in a speech at the National Army Museum.
"Not only are they engaged in an illegal invasion and war crimes but their top brass have failed their own rank and file to the extent they should be court martialed," he added.
"Through the invasion of Ukraine, [Russia's President Vladimir] Putin and his inner circle of generals are now mirroring fascism and tyranny of 77 years ago, repeating the errors of the last century's totalitarian regime."
Zelenskyy: 'We are fighting for a new victory'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country would not let the history of victory over Nazi Germany "be appropriated" as Moscow marks the 77th anniversary of World War II.
"Today we celebrate Victory Day over Nazism. We are our proud of our ancestors who together with other nations in the anti-Hitler coalition defeated Nazism," he said.
While Putin has claimed his invasion was to "denazify" Ukraine, Zelenskyy, in his statement, compared Russia's aggression to Nazi Germany in WWII.
"Despite the horde, despite Nazism, despite the mixture of the first and the second, which is the current enemy, we win," Zelenskyy said.
"Our enemy dreamed that we would refuse to celebrate May 9 and the victory over Nazism. So that the word 'denazification' gets a chance," he added.
"And very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine. And someone will not have even one left... We won then. We will win now"
Putin: War in Ukraine is response to West's policies
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia's military operation in Ukraine was necessary because the West was "preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea."
Putin was speaking at the annual Victory Day parade in Moscow marking the anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
The Russian president compared the Red Army's fighting against Nazi troops to the Russian forces' action in Ukraine.
Russia was facing an "absolutely unacceptable threat," Putin claimed, as he said the military action in Ukraine was a preemptive move to ward off aggression.
"The West was preparing for invasion of Russia, NATO was creating tensions at the borders. They did not want to listen to Russia, they had other plans," Putin said.
Germany braces for pro-Russian rallies marking May 9
Berlin and other cities across Germany increased police patrols on Monday ahead of expected pro-Russia protests.
In Berlin alone, several rallies and other events are planned on Monday to mark Victory Day, a holiday commemorating the Soviet military's victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
The largest event in the German capital is a demonstration scheduled to remember the fallen Soviet soldiers, with around 1,300 participants expected.
Police are expecting members of the "Night Wolves" biker club to take part. The club is comprised of Russian nationalists who are believed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addressed the nation on Sunday in a speech marking the end of World War II in Europe. He criticized Putin's attempt to portray the invasion of Ukraine "as being on par" with the fight against the Nazis, which Scholz slammed as a "falsification of history and a disgraceful distortion"
Putin to address Victory Day Parade
Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to make a highly anticipated speech as his country marks the 77th anniversary of its victory over Nazi Germany.
Around 11,000 soldiers are expected to participate in a military parade on Moscow's Red Square, and fighter jets are to form the letter "Z" in the sky, the symbol of Russia's fight in Ukraine.
Over the past several years, Putin has used the occasion to promote his policies. His remarks on Monday are widely expected to center around Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Putin has claimed that Russia launched a "special military operation" in Ukraine to "denazify" it.
Guterres to visit Moldova and meet Ukrainian refugees
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres travels to Moldova on Monday for a two-day visit.
Guterres is to meet with Moldovan President Maia Sandu and Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita before visiting a refugee camp on Tuesday.
Moldova has taken in over 450,000 war refugees from neighboring Ukraine, but most of them continued on to Romania and other EU countries.
Recently there has also been a growing fear that the war in Ukraine could spread to Moldova.
Russia has around 1,500 soldiers stationed in the breakaway region of Trans-Dniester, where several blasts reportedly took place.
Stoltenberg urges Russia to end war in Ukraine
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to end hostilities in Ukraine on Victory Day over Nazi Germany.
"I call on President Putin once again on May 9th to end the war immediately, withdraw his troops from Ukraine and start peace negotiations. We stand firmly with Ukraine and will continue to help the country assert its right to self-defense," Stoltenberg told the German newspaper Welt.
Stoltenberg also said that Putin had regularly used this day in the past to spread untruths about the West and to criticize NATO. That's why he expects to hear "lies about NATO and the West as a whole" again.
Japan wants to ban imports of Russian crude oil 'in principle'
Japan will ban Russian crude oil imports "in principle," as part of a G7 campaign to counter Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said after an online meeting of G7 leaders on Sunday.
"For a country heavily dependent on energy imports, it's a very difficult decision. But G7 coordination is most important at a time like now," Kishida said, according to a statement released by the government.
Russia is Japan's fifth-biggest supplier of crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
"We commit to phase out our dependency on Russian energy, including by phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil. We will ensure that we do so in a timely and orderly fashion," the G7 leaders said in their joint statement.
The idea of phasing out Russian oil could give Japan some leeway to gradually reduce imports as it seeks alternative energy sources.
European Commission buildings glow in the colors of the Ukrainian flag
On the eve of Europe Day, the buildings of the European Commission in Brussels are lit up in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday.
"Shining as bright as our hope to see peace return to Europe. And to start weaving our common future with our Ukrainian friends," she wrote on Twitter.
Britain imposes new sanctions on Russia and Belarus
The UK said on Sunday it was imposing fresh sanctions on Russia and Belarus over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions include import tariffs on precious metals and export bans.
The import tariffs, including on platinum and palladium, target trade worth £1.4 billion ($1.7 billion or €1.6 billion), while export bans worth £250 million ($308 million or €293 million) target Russia's manufacturing and heavy industry, said a statement from the Department for International Trade.
The new British sanctions bring the total value of products subjected to full or partial import and export sanctions to more than £4 billion.
British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said more than £4 billion of goods would be subject to import and export sanctions, doing "significant damage to Putin's war effort." They mark a third wave of British sanctions against Russia since the invasion of Ukraine.
Canada pledges further military aid to Ukraine
Following his visit to Kyiv, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced additional CA$50 million ($38.7 million, €36.7 million) in military aid to Ukraine.
According to the website of the prime minister, the package includes: 18 drone cameras, including in-service support and repair; CA$15 million of high-resolution satellite imagery; up to CA$1 million in small arms and related ammunition; additional ammunition for M777 howitzers.
Trudeau also announced his intention to temporarily remove trade tariffs on Ukrainian imports for a period of one year, as well as new sanctions against Russian oligarchs and those close to Putin's regime.
Zelenskyy: Russia has forgotten all that mattered to WWII victors
In his nightly address a day before Moscow commemorates the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russia has forgotten everything that mattered to the victors of World War II.
Denouncing Russia's strike on a school in Luhansk region that killed 60 people, he said: "Russia has forgotten everything that was important to the victors of World War II. But Ukraine and the free world will remind."
Zelenskyy said he wanted the really important words "never again" to regain their weight. These words are repeated every year in the free world in memory of the victims of World War II.
Thousands of soldiers will march through Moscow's Red Square on Monday, followed by tanks, armored vehicles and rocket launchers. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to address the parade.
Zelenskyy confirms 60 civilians dead in school bombing
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that 60 civilians died in the bombing of a school in the eastern Luhansk region.
"Just yesterday in the village of Bilohorivka, Luhansk region, a Russian bomb killed 60 people. Civilians," Zelenskyy said during an address to the G7 summit by video conference.
"They were hiding from shelling in the building of a regular school, which was attacked by a Russian air strike," the Ukrainian president said.
On Saturday, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaiday had said 90 people had been at the site when the strike hit.
Rescuers could not work overnight because of a threat of new strikes but resumed their work Sunday.
UN chief 'appalled' by attack on Ukraine school
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "appalled" by the bombing of a school in eastern Ukraine that killed 60 people and called for civilians to be spared, his spokesman said on Sunday.
"The Secretary-General is appalled by the reported attack on 7 May which hit a school in Bilohorivka, Ukraine, where many people were apparently seeking shelter from the ongoing fighting," spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
Guterres "reiterates that civilians and civilian infrastructure must always be spared in times of war," and noted that the attack was "yet another reminder that in this war, as in so many other conflicts, it is civilians that pay the highest price."
Summary of Sunday's events in Russia's war on Ukraine
Convoy buses carrying civilians evacuated from southeastern Ukraine have arrived at the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia. Osnat Lubrani, the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Ukraine, confirmed that 174 people were brought to safety from "the hell of Mariupol."
The US State Department announced visa bans and restrictions on over 2,500 Russian military officials and Russian-backed forces in Ukraine. The State Department also designated eight Russian maritime companies and placed 69 vessels on a US Treasury Department sanctions list.
Following a meeting via video conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, leaders of the G7 nations said they were imposing further sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The G7 leaders said they were "committed to phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil," according to the statement.
The Irish band U2 gave a concert in the Kyiv metro with lead singer Bono praising Ukraine's fight for freedom and offering a prayer for peace.
A group of US diplomats are scheduled to return to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on May 9 to coincide with Russia's celebration of Victory Day commemorating the Soviet Red Army's victory over Nazi Germany 77 years ago.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv where civilians were left in mass graves and for dead on the street. His surprise trip was not previously announced and comes on the same day US first lady Jill Biden was also in Ukraine to hold a Mother's Day meeting with Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenskyy.
Police in Berlin rolled up a giant Ukrainian flag demonstrators displayed at the Soviet War Memorial in the central Tiergarten Park. Ukraine's ambassador in the German capital Andriy Melnyk criticized the measures, calling it a "catastrophic politically wrong decision."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during a Victory Day address on Sunday that evil has returned to Ukraine.
"The evil has returned. Again!" Zelenskyy said. "In a different form, under different slogans, but for the same purpose."
Bundestag President Bärbel Bas visited Kyiv. She is the most important German politician to visit Ukraine since February.
Bas is the second-highest representative of Germany after the president.
During an address commemorating the end of World War II, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there can be "no peace under Russian dictatorship" in Ukraine. He also defended his government's policies during the crisis.
fb, dh,es/wd (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)