Ukraine conflict: Vladimir Putin says military action in Ukraine is 'a timely and necessary response to Western policies'

Vladimir Putin has said Russia’s military action in Ukraine is a timely and necessary response to Western policies.

Speaking at a military parade marking the former Soviet Union’s Second World War victory over the Nazis, Mr Putin drew parallels between the Red Army’s fighting against Nazi troops and the Russian forces’ action in Ukraine.

Putin gave no indication of a shift in strategies or made any indication he is going to declare a broad mobilisation, as some in Ukraine and the West fear.

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He said that the campaign in Ukraine was a timely and necessary move to ward off potential aggression and that the West was preparing for "invasion of our land" saying troops in the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region were "fighting for the motherland, its future.”

The Kremlin leader branded Nato "an obvious threat" to Russia and said his "special military operation" had been necessary and the "right decision".

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Putin also said the state would do "everything" to take care of families suffering bereavements caused by the Ukraine war saying "The death of every soldier and officer is painful for us.”

The nation observed a minute of silence to honour those who had fallen in combat.

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in central Moscow on May 9, 2022. - Russia celebrates the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II. (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Putin finished his speech to cheers from soldiers in Red Square, cannon fire and the Russian national anthem.

The comments from Putin come as Russian forces push forward in their assault on Ukraine, seeking to capture the crucial southern port city of Mariupol as Moscow prepared to celebrate its national Victory Day holiday.

Addressing the phalanxes of elite Russian troops filling Red Square, Mr Putin said the campaign in Ukraine was needed to avert “a threat that was absolutely unacceptable to us (that) has been methodically created next to our borders”.

“The danger was rising by the day,” he claimed, adding “Russia has given a pre-emptive response to an aggression” in a “forced, timely and the only correct decision by a sovereign, powerful and independent country”.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said that the Russian stockpile of munitions has been heavily depleted and that Russia may struggle to replace modern weaponry.

In an intelligence update they said: “At the onset of its invasion of Ukraine, Russia publicly promoted its ability to conduct surgical strikes and limit collateral damage. It stated that Ukrainian cities would therefore be safe from bombardment.

"However, as the conflict continues beyond Russian pre-war expectations, Russia’s stockpile of precision-guided munitions has likely been heavily depleted.

"This has forced the use of readily available but ageing munitions that are less reliable, less accurate and more easily intercepted. Russia will likely struggle to replace the precision weaponry it has already expended.

"Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has revealed shortcomings in its ability to conduct precision strikes at scale. Russia has subjected Ukraine’s towns and cities to intense and indiscriminate bombardments with little or no regard for civilian casualties.”

Ahead of Victory Day, Western leaders showed new signs of support for Ukraine.

The Group of Seven industrial democracies pledged to ban or phase out imports of Russian oil.

The US also announced new sanctions against Russia, cutting off Western advertising from Russia’s three biggest TV stations, banning US accounting and consulting firms from providing services, and cutting off Russia’s industrial sector from wood products, industrial engines, boilers and bulldozers.