The Battle of Stalingrad is sacred to many Russians. For the 80th anniversary, the Russian President is traveling there to use the commemoration for his war propaganda. He calls the German tank deliveries a threat to Russia, to which he will "answer".
According to its President Vladimir Putin, Russia is "again" threatened by German tanks. "It's unbelievable, but German Leopard tanks are threatening us again," Putin said this afternoon at a commemoration ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the Soviet Army's victory over Nazi Germany's troops in the Battle of Stalingrad. As in the Second World War, German weapons are being used to fight against Russia on Ukrainian soil, said the 70-year-old. Russia will defend itself this time as it did against the German troops, said Putin, referring to the war against Ukraine, which he himself started almost a year ago. Putin added that Russia will "reply" to countries that threatened it. Literally, Putin said: "We have something with which to answer. And the matter is not over with the use of armor technology. Everyone should understand that." The Kremlin boss had traveled to the city now called Volgograd especially for the commemoration.
Putin made his first public statement since Germany's decision to supply tanks to Ukraine. He accused the "collective West" of pursuing anti-Russian policies similar to those under Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. "Now, unfortunately, we see the ideology of Nazism in a modern face, in its modern expression it again creates a threat to the security of our country," Putin claimed. Germany emphasizes that it is not or does not want to become a war party.
Historians accuse Putin of misusing the commemoration of the Soviet Union's victory against Hitler's Germany in World War II, which is sacred to many Russians, for his propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine. The Russian President started the war against Ukraine on February 24. To date, Russia occupies around 18 percent of Ukraine. With rocket and drone attacks, Russia has recently also deliberately destroyed energy infrastructure in Ukraine in order to plunge the country into darkness and cold. Again and again, simple houses are hit, which is why many civilians die in the war.
During the celebration, Putin also visited a memorial for the defenders of Stalingrad in the years 1941 to 1943. On the occasion of the anniversary, some place-name signs in Volgograd were exchanged and the city was temporarily renamed Stalingrad. A bust of Stalin was also unveiled in memory of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who led the country to victory.
Before Putin's remarks on Stalingrad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had already accused EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the West of wanting to destroy Russia. The head of the commission wanted Russia's economy not to be able to recover "for many decades," said the foreign minister on Russian state television. "Isn't that racism, not National Socialism - not an attempt to solve 'the Russian question'?" Lavrov asked, referring to the Second World War. Von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv in the morning with a team of commissioners, where the EU-Ukraine summit begins on Friday.