In a speech marking the 77th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the assault on Ukraine inevitable, claiming without evidence that Kyiv planned to attack eastern areas of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists and invade occupied Crimea. Putin made no major announcements in a speech at Moscow’s annual Red Square military parade, defying speculation he may further escalate his faltering 10-week-old war.
He said, however, that Russia was under threat by Western countries and NATO, accusing them of preparing an attack on Crimea, which Moscow’s forces annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
“Last year, we suggested to NATO countries that we sign a security treaty, but they did not want to hear us, they had completely different plans, and an attack on Crimea was being prepared,” Putin said in Moscow. “The alliance began military development of the territories adjacent to us,” he added, calling the fighting ‘inevitable’.
Protesters in Poland doused Russian Ambassador Sergei Andreyev with red paint as he attempted to lay flowers at a Soviet military memorial cemetery in Warsaw for Red Army soldiers who died during World War II. Photo: Twitter.
“Today, you’re defending what our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers fought for”, he added.
Russia's ambassador to Poland was splattered with red paint thrown at him by protesters opposed to the war in Ukraine, preventing him from paying respects on Monday at a Warsaw cemetery to Red Army soldiers who died during World War II.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will be travelling to Hungary to discuss the bloc’s planned sanctions on Russian oil with President Viktor Orban, her spokesman announced.
Von der Leyen is seeking to break a deadlock over the EU’s plan to gradually phase out Russian oil purchases, which Hungary has been blocking. The EU had offered Hungary and Slovakia until the end of 2024 to comply with the measures.
The US expanded its list denying Russia access to American products, imposing a license requirement on all exports, re-exports, transfers.
The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security published a list that now includes wood products and construction machinery, expanding the number of goods affected relative to what it first announced in February. The measures are consistent with existing EU restrictions on similar items.
The US has decided to suspend tariffs on Ukrainian steel for one year, the Commerce Department said.
Macron on Ukraine’s EU membership
French President Emmanuel Macron said it will probably take ‘several decades’ for Ukraine to be confirmed as a European Union member.
But he added Ukraine is ‘already a member’ of the European family because of its ‘struggle’ and ‘courage’.
In the speech to lawmakers, Macron offered a path for Ukraine to work more closely with the EU, as part of a less formal grouping of like-minded countries.
On the trade front, a Maltese-flagged ship carrying Russian coal has docked in the northern Spanish port of Gijon, port authorities said.
Another Maltese-flagged ship, loaded with Russian crude, docked in Cartagena, southern Spain, on Friday, authorities confirmed.