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Putin says Russia fighting 'international terrorism' in Victory Day speech

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his nation is combating "international terrorism" in its invasion of Ukraine during a Victory Day speech Tuesday. Photo by Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool/EPA-EFE
1 of 2 | Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his nation is combating "international terrorism" in its invasion of Ukraine during a Victory Day speech Tuesday. Photo by Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool/EPA-EFE

May 9 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin told participants in the annual Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square on Tuesday that the world was at a turning point but that Russia was prevailing in what he said was a real war against "international terrorism."

The speech at the parade to commemorate the 78th anniversary of victory in World War II which was attended by all branches of the military and Commonwealth of Independent States leaders came as Russian forces unleashed a second day of missile attacks against targets in Ukraine.

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"Today, civilization is once again at a decisive, turning point. A real war has been unleashed against our Motherland again, but we have rebuffed international terrorism, we will also protect the residents of Donbas, and ensure our security," Putin said.

"For us, for Russia, there are no unfriendly, hostile peoples either in the West or in the East. Like the vast majority of people on the planet, we want to see the future peaceful, free and stable. We believe that any ideology of superiority is inherently disgusting, criminal and deadly."

In a lengthy diatribe, Putin continued to insist Russia's action against Ukraine was a "special military operation" and not a war and that Moscow was the victim of Western aggression with the goal of destroying Russia and crossing out the results of World War II.

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"This is the reason for the catastrophe that the Ukrainian people are currently experiencing," he said.

In the lead-up to the speech, Russia also launched a renewed wave of attacks on Ukraine.

The Ukraine Defense Ministry said 25 Kalibr and Kh-101/Kh-55 cruise missiles were launched overnight by Russian warships in the Black Sea and strategic bomber aircraft at targets in the east of the country but that 23 of them had been shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.

At least 15 of the missiles were targeted against the capital Kyiv but senior Kyiv military official Serhiy Popko said there were no reports of injuries.

The missile attacks came 24 hours after more than 100 UAVs and missiles targeted cities across the south and east of the country early Monday.

Russia itself has witnessed a wave of bombings and attacks in recent days and months that also saw drones penetrate Moscow air defenses to reach the Kremlin -- but no damage or casualties were inflicted -- and no group has admitted responsibility.

Moscow says Ukraine was behind the Kremlin attack but Kyiv strongly denies any involvement.

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