Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated his accusation that the West left him no choice but to invade Ukraine in a speech given during Russia's Victory Day parade, an annual commemoration of the country's defeat of Nazi Germany at the end of World War Two. The speech provided little detail on how Russia planned to proceed in Ukraine; it followed days of speculation that Putin would use the event to announce to make a major announcement.
Here are some of the latest developments:
- Russia's muted Victory Day parade: Defence analysts noted a low-key parade, which saw thousands of troops assemble outside the Kremlin in the Red Square and the expected air portion of the annual event canceled due to weather, according to a Kremlin official. Putin repeated his reasons for invading Ukraine, saying the intervention was necessary as the West was creating "threats next to our borders" and "preparing for the invasion of our land." He also said the West didn't want to hear Russia's proposals for dialogue.
- Modest celebrations in occupied areas: There were small pro-Russian celebrations in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, including Kherson, according to Russian state media. Pro-Russian social media accounts circulated videos shot in Ukraine's southern Kherson region showing small crowds waving red flags and carrying flowers as they marked Russia's Victory Day. Ukrainian activists in Kherson claimed Russia had brought in people from Crimea to bolster the numbers attending. In the southeastern city of Mariupol, flowers were laid at a memorial recently refurbished by Russian-backed separatists, according to Ukrainian officials.
- Evacuations from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol: The Ukrainian government said "all women, children and elderly people" have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol -- the last Ukrainian holdout in the city. Zelensky said more than 300 civilians have been rescued.
- Ukrainian counterattack in Kharkiv unfolds: The Ukrainian military says that Russia is holding back some of its forces within its borders to prevent a Ukrainian counterattack that has made some headway east of Kharkiv. Inside Ukraine, the general staff says the most intense activity is in Donetsk region, where Russian forces are trying to advance towards the town of Lyman, a major transport hub.
- Rebuild Ukraine with Russian foreign exchange reserves, says top diplomat: The European Union should consider using billions of dollars’ worth of Russian foreign exchange reserves to rebuild Ukraine after the war, the bloc’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said in an interview with the Financial Times Monday.
- First lady Jill Biden and Canada’s Prime Minister make unannounced Ukraine trips: The US first lady made an unannounced trip on Sunday to Uzhhorod, a small city in the far southwestern corner of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau announced the reopening of the Canadian embassy in Kyiv in a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Ukrainian capital.
- Dozens feared dead after bomb hits school sheltering Ukrainians: Ukraine has accused Russia of dropping a bomb on a school in the Luhansk region. Ninety people were said to be sheltering in the school; 60 are feared dead. Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said the school building was destroyed.