Russia is not seeking to end its war in Ukraine by VE Day on May 9, its foreign minister has said, as the country looks set to mark the key anniversary under the guise of a deadly conflict.
Speaking to Italian media outlet Mediaset, Sergei Lavrov insisted that Moscow would not rush to wrap up its so-called ‘special military operation’ in time for the anniversary, which celebrates Nazi Germany’s surrender to forces Allies – including the then Soviet Union – in 1945.
“Our military will not artificially adjust their actions on any date, including Victory Day,” Lavrov said in the interview published on Sunday.
“The pace of the operation in Ukraine depends above all on the need to minimize the risks for the civilian population and Russian military personnel,” he added.
Russia usually celebrates Victory Day with great fanfare, with a large military parade through central Moscow and a speech by President Vladimir Putin hailing the country’s leading role in defeating fascism in Europe.
But this year’s celebrations will take place against the backdrop of Moscow’s bloody military campaign in Ukraine, which Putin justified with claims that the former Soviet country demands ‘denazification’ and other WWII allusions. world.
“We will solemnly celebrate May 9, as we always do. Remember those who fell for the liberation of Russia and other republics of the former USSR, for the liberation of Europe from the plague Nazi,” Lavrov said.
Thousands of civilians have been killed and millions displaced by the Russian invasion, which began on February 24.
Moscow said more than a thousand of its soldiers were killed in the operation. Ukraine claims that Russia’s losses are much higher.