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Russia celebrates victory in World War II as Putin accuses the West of fueling global conflicts

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MOSCOW — Russia on Thursday wrapped itself in patriotic pageantry for Victory Day, as President Vladimir Putin celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II by hailing his forces fighting in Ukraine and blasting the West for fueling conflicts around the world.

Even though few veterans of what Russia calls the Great Patriotic War are still alive 79 years after Berlin fell to the Red Army, the victory remains the most important and widely revered symbol of Russia’s prowess and a key element of national identity.


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Putin hits Ukraine in huge attack raining cruise missiles and explosive drones

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Authorities said the bombardment on Wednesday blasted targets in seven Ukrainian regions, including the Kyiv area and parts of the south and west, damaging homes

Rescuers extinguish a fire on a destroyed house following a missile attack near Kyiv

Rescuers extinguish a fire on a destroyed house following a missile attack near Kyiv

Russian forces unleashed a night-time barrage of more than 50 cruise missiles and explosive drones at Ukraine’s power grid, targeting a wide area in what President Volodymyr Zelensky called a “massive” attack.

The bombardment on Wednesday blasted targets in seven Ukrainian regions, including the Kyiv area and parts of the south and west, damaging homes and the country’s rail network, authorities said.

Three people, including an eight-year-old girl, were injured, according to officials. Russia has repeatedly pounded Ukraine’s energy infrastructure during the war that is stretching into its third year and has claimed thousands of lives.

By taking out the power, the Kremlin’s forces aim to rob Ukrainian manufacturing of its energy supply, especially military plants, and crush public morale. The mass barrages also drain Ukrainian air defences of ammunition as Kyiv’s depleted forces await delivery of the latest batch of promised Western military support.

Ukrainian officials have been pleading for more Nato-standard air defence systems, such as Patriots. Russia pummelled Ukraine’s energy infrastructure during the “blackout winter” of 2022-23.

In March, it launched a new wave of attacks, one of which completely destroyed the Trypilska power plant near Kyiv, one of the country’s biggest.

Vladimir Putin has repeatedly threatened Western leaders amid the ongoing war in Ukraine
(
POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has framed the attacks as retaliation for Ukrainian long-range strikes on Russian oil refineries.
On Wednesday, a Ukrainian attack hit an oil terminal, injuring five workers and starting a fire, Russia-appointed authorities in the partially occupied Luhansk region said. Russian bombardments, though frequent, have become less regular in recent weeks, and Ukrainian officials suspect Moscow is stockpiling resources ahead of a major battlefield offensive that could come within weeks.
The 1,000-kilometre (600 mile) front line has changed little since the early months of the war, but Russia has recently made small but steady gains in some areas as Ukraine battles with a lack of manpower and a shortage of weapons.

In a social media post, Mr Zelensky noted that Wednesday’s attacks occurred on the day that Ukraine observes the end of European fighting in World War Two and equated Ukraine’s current struggle with that conflict. National electrical grid operator Ukrenergo said facilities were hit in the Vinnytsia, Zaporizhzhia, Kirovohrad, Poltava and Ivano-Frankivsk regions.

Two energy facilities were hit in the Lviv region, which is in the country’s far west and distant from the fighting’s front lines, according to regional Governor Maksym Kozytskyi. DTEK, Ukraine’s biggest private energy supplier, said the attack “seriously damaged” equipment at three of its thermal power plants.

The attack was the fifth in the last six weeks targeting the company’s facilities, DTEK said. Overall, since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, the company’s assets have come under attack nearly 180 times, injuring 51 workers and killing three, it said.

Russia launched 55 missiles and 21 Shahed drones overnight, the Ukrainian air force said. Air defences downed 39 of the missiles and 20 of the drones, Ukrainian air force commander Mykola Oleshchuk said.

Russian forces also damaged the railway station building and train tracks in Kherson, national railway operator Ukrzaliznytsia said.
Also on Wednesday, five people including three children were injured in an attack that struck an educational facility in northeastern Kharkiv, regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov said on social media. City Mayor Ihor Terekhov said one of the children was in critical condition.

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Putin agrees to withdraw Russian forces from various Armenian regions, says Ifax

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Russian President Putin chairs a meeting on economic issues via video link in Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on economic issues via video link at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 3, 2024. Sputnik/Aleksey Babushkin/Kremlin via REUTERS/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights, opens new tab

MOSCOW, May 9 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin has agreed to withdraw Russian forces and border guards from various parts of Armenia at Yerevan’s request, Putin’s spokesman was cited as saying on Thursday by Russia’s Interfax news agency.

The announcement follows the departure of nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeepers from in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region which Azerbaijan returned by force in September last year. Their exit ended a multi-year deployment which gave Moscow a military foothold in the strategic South Caucasus region.

Armenia has asked Russian border guards to also leave their posts at the country’s main airport in Yerevan from Aug. 1.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was cited on Thursday as saying that Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had reached an agreement on a wave of new Russian departures at a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.

“In autumn 2020, at the request of the Armenian side, our military and border guards were deployed to a number of Armenian regions. Pashinyan said that today, due to changed conditions, there is no longer such a need so President Putin agreed and the withdrawal of our military and border guards was agreed,” Peskov told Interfax.

The Sputnik Armenia news service cited a senior Armenian politician from the ruling party as saying that Putin and Pashinyan had agreed that Russian forces and border guards would withdraw from five Armenian regions.

Russian border guards will however remain on Armenia’s borders with Turkey and Iran – at Yerevan’s request – Peskov was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Pashinyan criticised Russia for not intervening to stop Azerbaijani forces in Karabakh and has since publicly questioned his country’s traditional alliance with Russia – which has a string of military facilities inside Armenia – and has started to forge closer ties with the West.

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Reporting by Reuters
Writing by Andrew Osborn
Editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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Armenia’s prime minister talks with Putin in Moscow while allies’ ties are under strain

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Russian President Vladimir Putin met Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Moscow on Wednesday for the Eurasian Economic Union summit.

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MOSCOW (AP) — Armenia’s prime minister visited Moscow and held talks Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid spiraling tensions between the estranged allies.

Putin hosted Nikol Pashinyan for talks following a summit of the Eurasian Economic Union, a Moscow-dominated economic alliance they both attended earlier in the day. The negotiations came a day after Putin began his fifth term at a glittering Kremlin inauguration.

In brief remarks at the start of the talks, Putin said that bilateral trade was growing, but acknowledged “some issues concerning security in the region.”

Pashinyan, who last visited Moscow in December, said that “certain issues have piled up since then.”

Armenia’s ties with its longtime sponsor and ally Russia have grown increasingly strained after Azerbaijan waged a lightning military campaign in September to reclaim the Karabakh region, ending three decades of ethnic Armenian separatists’ rule there.

Armenian authorities accused Russian peacekeepers who were deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh after the previous round of hostilities in 2020 of failing to stop Azerbaijan’s onslaught. Moscow, which has a military base in Armenia, has rejected the accusations, arguing that its troops didn’t have a mandate to intervene.

The Kremlin, in turn, has been angered by Pashinyan’s efforts to deepen ties with the West and distance his country from Moscow-dominated security and economic alliances.

Just as Pashinyan was visiting Moscow on Wednesday, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry announced that the country will stop paying fees to the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russia-dominated security pact. Armenia has previously suspended its participation in the grouping as Pashinyan has sought to bolster ties with the European Union and NATO.

Russia was also vexed by Armenia’s decision to join the International Criminal Court, which last year indicted Putin for alleged war crimes connected to the Russian action in Ukraine.

Moscow, busy with the Ukrainian conflict that has dragged into a third year, has publicly voiced concern about Yerevan’s westward shift but sought to downplay the differences.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov conceded Tuesday that “there are certain problems in our bilateral relations,” but added that “there is a political will to continue the dialogue.”


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Emboldened Russia marks Victory Day with parade of nuclear-capable weapons

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With his armies grinding forward in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin on Thursday marked Victory Day, the World War II commemoration that is Russia’s most significant holiday, with an unusually harsh speech, accusing the West of “hypocrisy and lies” and of inciting global conflicts, and warning that Russia’s nuclear weapons are always ready for war.


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AP Headline News – May 09 2024 09:00 (EDT)

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AP Headline News – May 09 2024 10:00 (EDT)

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