Michael Weiss and James Rushton report:
“We are again being threatened by German Leopard tanks,” Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Thursday on a visit to Volgograd, where he commemorated the 80th anniversary of the Red Army’s World War II victory over Nazi forces in Stalingrad.
As he so often has in the past year, Putin made a direct comparison between his attempted conquest of Ukraine and what Russians refer to as the Great Patriotic War. “Again and again we are forced to repel the aggression of the collective West,” he said.
Also in characteristic fashion, Putin got his facts wrong. The Nazis never operated a tank named after the leopard during World War II. As for the “collective West,” no mention was made of Joseph Stalin’s invasion of Poland 16 days after Adolf Hitler’s, as per their mutually agreed carve-up of Eastern Europe, which culminated in a joint victory parade between German and Soviet armies in Brest-Litovsk on Sept. 22, 1939.
Putin’s revisionist history comes as Russia is said to be prepping for a massive offensive in Ukraine, possibly to coincide with the one-year anniversary of its Feb. 24 invasion.
“I think that Russia really wants some kind of big revanche. I think it has started it. And I think that they will not be able to provide their society with any convincing positive result in the offensive,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a Friday press conference in Odesa with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has suggested that the Kremlin may be deploying as many as half a million soldiers for the effort, more than twice the original number fielded a year ago to mount the initial invasion. One unnamed source in the Russian military interviewed by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta confirmed that a massive push is in the offing, although the source seemed skeptical that it would be successful. Russian generals, the source said, had no compunction about turning tens of thousands of their own men into “mincemeat.” The Ukrainians, moreover, “get absolutely accurate information about all of our movements from Western intelligence agencies.” [Continue reading…]