Putin recalls Stalingrad to predict victory over “new Nazism” in Ukraine

  • The Russian president spoke in Volgograd
  • 80 years have passed since the Soviet victory at Stalingrad
  • Putin draws parallels with Russia’s campaign in Ukraine
  • This content was created in Russia, where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine.

VOLGOGRAD, Russia, Feb 2 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin evoked the spirit of the Soviet army that defeated Nazi Germany’s forces at Stalingrad 80 years ago to declare on Thursday that Russia would defeat Ukraine, which is believed to be in captivity of a new incarnation of Nazism.

In a fiery speech in Volgograd, known as Stalingrad until 1961, Putin criticized Germany for helping to arm Ukraine and said, not for the first time, that he was ready to use Russia’s entire arsenal, which includes nuclear weapons.

“Unfortunately, we see that the ideology of Nazism in its modern form and manifestation is again directly threatening the security of our country,” Putin told an audience of army officers and members of local patriotic and youth groups.

“Again and again we must repel the aggression of the collective West.” It’s incredible, but it’s a fact: we are again threatened by German Leopard tanks with crosses on them.”

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Russian officials have drawn parallels with the fight against the Nazis since Russian forces entered Ukraine nearly a year ago.

Ukraine – which was part of the Soviet Union and itself suffered devastation at the hands of Hitler’s forces – dismisses these parallels as a false pretext for a war of imperial conquest.

Stalingrad was the bloodiest battle of World War II when the Soviet Red Army, at the cost of over 1 million casualties, broke the back of the German invasion force in 1942-1943.

Putin invoked what he said was the spirit of Stalingrad’s defenders to explain why he believed Russia would prevail in Ukraine, saying the World War II battle had become a symbol of the “indestructible character of our people.”

“Those who drag European countries, including Germany, into a new war with Russia and … expect to win victory over Russia on the battlefield, obviously do not understand that a modern war with Russia will be completely different for them,” he added. .

“We are not sending our tanks to their borders, but we have the means to respond and it will not end with the use of armored vehicles, everyone should understand that.


After Putin finished his speech, the audience gave him a standing ovation.

Earlier, Putin laid flowers at the grave of the Soviet marshal who led the defense of Stalingrad and visited the city’s main memorial complex, where he observed a minute’s silence for those who died during the battle.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Volgograd to watch the victory parade as planes flew overhead and modern World War II-era tanks and armored vehicles passed by.

Some of the modern vehicles have the letter “V” painted on them, a symbol used by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Irina Zolotoreva, 61, who said her relatives fought at Stalingrad, saw a parallel with Ukraine.

“Our country is fighting for justice, for freedom. We won in 1942 and this is an example for today’s generation. I think now we will win again, whatever happens.”

The focal point of the commemorations was the Mamaev Kurgan memorial complex, located on a hill overlooking the Volga River, dominated by a massive statue called Motherland Calls – of a woman brandishing a giant sword.

The five-month-long battle reduced the city named after Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to rubble, while leaving an estimated 2 million dead and wounded on both sides.

A new bust of Stalin was erected in Volgograd on Wednesday together with two others, the Soviet marshals Georgiy Zhukov and Alexander Vasilievski.

Despite Stalin’s record of presiding over famine that killed millions and political repression that killed hundreds of thousands, in recent years Russian politicians and school textbooks have emphasized his role as a successful military leader who turned the Soviet Union into a superpower.

Reporting by Tatiana Gomozova Writing by Andrew Osborne Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Kevin Liffey

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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