Vladimir Putin slams NATO's 'unacceptable threat' to Russia
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The Ilyushin Il-80 plane, known as “the flying Kremlin”, will take part in a fly-past over Red Square in a clear warning to the West. The plane is reportedly designed to protect Putin, and will be accompanied by the Tu-96 “Bear” and Tu-160 “White Swan”, which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The plane features no external windows except in the cockpit, and includes a dome designed to prevent exposure to electromagnetic pulse attacks.
The unveiling of the terrifying aircraft is likely designed as a warning to the West after the Russian despot condemned Western support for Ukraine.
Putin has promised to use his entire arsenal “lightning fast” if lines are crossed in the sending of weapons to Ukrainian forces.
Some have predicted that he may use his nationwide address this morning to repeat threats of a nuclear strike on the West.
Originally a day to celebrate Stalin’s victory over Nazi Germany on May 9, Russia’s Victory Day has over time become increasingly used as a propaganda piece to glorify Russia’s Soviet history and show off military hardware.
In a speech made yesterday Putin explicitly linked his modern invasion to the defeat of Nazi Germany on its 77th anniversary.
He said: “Today, our soldiers, like their ancestors, are fighting side-by-side to rid their native land of the Nazi filth.
“As in 1945, victory will be ours.”
US and European intelligence sources have said that the tyrant could use the parade speech to announce a mass mobilisation to draft civilians into the military and declare an all-out war on Ukraine – deviating from his initial propaganda message that the invasion was just a “special military operation”.
Putin’s spokesman has dismissed the reports as “nonsense”.
Exiled opposition leader Dmitry Gudkov said: “Putin has destroyed not only our future, but also our past when we had this wonderful day of commemoration.
“This monstrosity on Red Square has nothing to do with our ancestors. It’s not them who are going to be marching [on the square], and the parade will be led by killers and war criminals.”
Part of the rally has historically been the “Immortal Regiment”, where streets in the centre of Moscow are sealed off so civilians can carry photographs of family members killed in the Second World War.
However this too has been co-opted by Putin for the purposes of propaganda.
Participants were this year told they would be welcome to carry images of soldiers killed in Ukraine.
The display of military power usually inherent to the Victory Day parade has also been affected by the war, due to how much of Russia’s equipment has been damaged.
Russian defence ministry data reveals that just two thirds of the number of vehicles seen last year will be present today.
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Notable absentees are tanks and rocket systems which have sustained substantial losses.
This year’s aerial display will not feature any combat-ready Su-30 and Su-34 bomber jets, with many of the latter reportedly shot down over Ukraine.
Furthermore, two Russian cities Belgorod and Voronezh have said that they will not be holding parades or showing off weaponry for security fears, after both regions have experienced a string of unexplained attacks on military infrastructure.
The attacks have been largely attributed to Ukrainian sabotage, but this remains unverified.
The parade is also expected to display next-generation weaponry that has neither entered mass production nor been deployed on the battlefield.
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