MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday marked the 80th anniversary of the Nazi assault on the Soviet Union by hailing the nation’s World Struggle II heroes and calling for efforts to strengthen European safety.
The Nazis invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, and the nation misplaced a staggering 27 million folks in what it calls the Nice Patriotic Struggle. The big struggling and sacrifice have left a deep scar within the nationwide psyche, and the Victory Day marking the tip of World Struggle II in Europe that’s celebrated in Russia on Could 9 is the nation’s most essential secular vacation.
“The day of June 22 nonetheless evokes anger and sorrow within the hearts of all generations, inflicting ache for the destroyed lives of tens of millions of individuals,” Putin stated in a speech on the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb on the Kremlin wall. “These trials, these horrible years, are actually imprinted into our reminiscence.”
The invading Nazi forces shortly overran the western a part of the Soviet Union and got here as shut as 30 kilometers (lower than 19 miles) to Moscow. However the Crimson Military rebounded and routed the Nazis close to the capital, dealt them a crushing defeat within the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943 after which drove them again throughout Europe all the best way to Berlin.
The Kremlin has been anxious to see worldwide recognition of the nation’s wartime sacrifices and its function in defeating the Nazis.
In an article printed Tuesday within the German weekly Die Zeit, Putin emphasised that “regardless of makes an attempt to rewrite the pages of the previous which can be being made as we speak, the reality is that Soviet troopers got here to Germany to not take revenge on the Germans, however with a noble and nice mission of liberation.”
He hailed postwar efforts to revive mutual belief however blamed NATO’s eastward growth to embrace former Soviet bloc international locations in Central and Jap Europe and ex-Soviet Baltic republics for the deteriorating safety.
“We hoped that the tip of the Chilly Struggle can be a typical victory for Europe,” Putin stated within the article. “However a distinct method has prevailed primarily based on the growth of NATO, a relic of the Chilly Struggle. Fourteen new international locations, together with the previous Soviet Union republics, joined the group, successfully dashing hopes for a continent with out dividing traces.”
Moscow noticed NATO’s growth as a risk to its safety, and Russia-West ties sank to post-Chilly Struggle lows after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula that adopted the ouster of the Moscow-friendly Ukrainian president.
“The entire system of European safety has now degraded considerably,” Putin wrote. “Tensions are rising and the dangers of a brand new arms race have gotten actual.”
He insisted that prosperity and safety in Europe might solely be achieved via joint efforts and famous that “Russia is in favour of restoring a complete partnership with Europe.”
“We merely can’t afford to hold the burden of previous misunderstandings, laborious emotions, conflicts, and errors,” Putin stated. “Our widespread and indeniable aim is to make sure safety on the continent with out dividing traces, a typical house for equitable cooperation and inclusive growth for the prosperity of Europe and the world as a complete.”