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Russia prepares military parade with ‘apocalyptic’ message

posted on 05/07/2022 06:00


(credit: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP)

In Russian folklore, “Potemkin villages” were artificial settings created to satisfy Tsarina Catherine II (1729-1796). Count Grigory Potemkin, lover of Russia’s most powerful figure, wanted to impress her with the “love” of ordinary citizens and the “prosperity” of the newly conquered lands of Tavrida, now southern Ukraine. “History repeats itself as a tragedy,” lamented Ukrainian Petro Burkovsky, an analyst at the Ilko Kucheriv Foundation for Democratic Initiatives (in Kiev), commenting on the Kremlin’s intention to hold military parades in Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine, and in Moscow, on Monday.

Detail: in the Russian capital, President Vladimir Putin will make a speech and exhibit weapons that could be used in a Third World War – among them, Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers and MiG-29SMT and MiG-28j fighters. The presence of the Ilyushin Il-80 command plane in the Moscow parade caused an uproar in the West: the aircraft would serve as a control center for Putin in the event of a nuclear attack.

The military parades mark the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany. According to Burkovsky, the parade in Moscow’s Red Square “will take place in the midst of no triumphs, immense losses among Russians and war crimes, and will convey the image of a fascist dictator to the civilized world.” He recalls that Mariupol was turned to rubble by the Russian army and “can only serve as an example of genocidal policy, not a brilliant military victory”. Burkovsky predicts the stop will be humiliating for Russian families who lost loved ones in the war and were unable to bury them.

Ukrainian lawyer Olexiy Plotnikov, a postdoctoral fellow in law and a resident of Odessa (southwest), warned the Courier that the Mariupol parade would amount to “an absolute violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, including the 3rd article, the most protected and non-derogable — the prohibition of degrading treatment — and the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War”.

According to him, Putin will use the occasion to try to demonstrate victory over “Nazism in Ukraine” and repeat a ritual parade with prisoners of war. “Josef Stalin did this in 1994 in the city of Minsk.” Regarding the stop in Moscow, he considers the event “an absolute disgrace to international agreements on human rights”. “No one has done this since World War II,” he recalls.

The Russian victory declaration looks more like propaganda to domestic public opinion than fact. Moscow forces are still fighting men from the Azov Battalion paramilitary group entrenched in the Azovstal steelworks complex in Mariupol. In addition, troops face difficulties in controlling and annexing the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.

Professor of comparative politics at Kiev-Mohyla National University, Olexiy Haran explained to the report that the Il-80 plane is a kind of command headquarters. “It’s been around since 2010. Putin wants to try to intimidate the world. The message would be, ‘I can use this aircraft and launch a nuclear attack from it.’ Regarding the Moscow and Mariupol parades, Putin wants to show that he won the war. . This will not work before the international community,” he commented.

The United Nations (UN) compared the situation in Azovstal to a “dark hell” and celebrated the evacuation of another 50 civilians among hundreds sheltered in the steel mill’s bunkers. “Today, we managed to evacuate 50 women, children and elderly people from Azovstal,” said Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk. A new attempt to rescue one more group will be made today.

In Kiev, Mayor Vitali Klitschko urged citizens to stay alert and not leave their homes between tomorrow and Monday. Western officials believe Putin can use the occasion of Victory Day to officially declare war on Ukraine and step up the military campaign, with possible attacks on the Ukrainian capital. “I also ask that you do not ignore the anti-aircraft sirens and protect yourself immediately. In the coming days, there is a high probability of missile bombing in all regions of Ukraine,” warned the mayor.


Reinforcement

US President Joe Biden has announced new US military aid to Ukraine. Biden appealed to Congress to authorize the funds. “I am announcing a new security assistance package that will provide additional artillery munitions, radars and other equipment to Ukraine,” the Democrat said. A senior Washington official told France-Presse news agency that the new aid package amounts to $150 million.

During a visit to the Ukrainian city of Kherson, taken by Russia two months ago, influential Russian lawmaker Andrei Turchak admitted for the first time that Moscow’s forces intended to stay “forever” in southern Ukraine. “I would like to say, once again, to the inhabitants of the Kherson region that Russia is here forever.”

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