Russia is ‘again’ threatened by German tanks, just like WWII, Putin declares as he marks 80th anniversary of Soviet victory over the Nazis in Stalingrad
- Putin said in speech today that Russia ‘answer’ to any country that threatened it
- Aides seen close to dictator carrying two black bags amid ramped up security
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia was being threatened by German tanks, like during World War Two, speaking at an event in Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, marking the Soviet victory over Nazi forces in the city.
‘It’s unbelievable but true. We are again being threatened by German Leopard tanks,’ Putin said, adding that Russia had an ‘answer’ to any country that threatened it.
Putin appeared to have brought his ‘nuclear football’ to Volgograd.
Aides were seen close to the dictator carrying two black bags.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his speech as he attends commemorations marking the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the battle of Stalingrad in the southern Russian city of Volgograd, once known as Stalingrad, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023
Pictured: Aides were seen close to the dictator carrying two black bags
Observers believed one was a fold-up shield to protect Putin in the event of shooting, while the other is likely to contain Russia’s nuclear key.
A security officer carrying the ‘nuclear bag’ has been seen previously close to Putin during the war with Ukraine.
Russian officials and propagandists have threatened the West with nuclear strikes over their military support for Ukraine.
Putin laid flowers on the Mamayev Kurgan memorial and paid tribute to the memory of fallen Soviet soldiers.
The president also visited the grave of Soviet commander Marshal Vasily Chuikov.
Putin was seen in his official armour-plated Aurus limousine in a 25-vehicle entourage, including an ambulance and tight security.
A paranoid Putin has forced selected residents of Volgograd to quarantine as part of a huge security operation for his visit.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath-laying ceremony during an event marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad in World War Two, at the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex in Volgograd, Russia on February 2, 2023
Russian President Vladimir Putin lays a wreath to the Eternal Flame at the Hall of Military Glory at the Mamayev Kurgan World War Two Memorial complex in Volgograd on February 2, 2023, during commemorations for the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad during WWII
Snipers have been set in place in the city to protect the Russian President, who is due to speak at a memorial event later in the day, while locals were barred from getting too close to the leader, who has been plagued by reports of ill health.
The mammoth security operation indicated Russia’s fears that Putin could face an assassination attempt amid the war with Ukraine.
Locals were ordered to take time off work to keep them off the streets and Governor of the Volgograd Region, Andrey Bocharov, was also forced into nine days quarantine before coming into close proximity with Putin.
The Russian despot flew to Volgograd to mark the anniversary of the Soviet victory over the Nazis in a battle that changed the course of World War Two.
Vladimir Putin visits Volgograd on February 2, 2023
Thousands of people lined Volgograd’s streets on Thursday to watch a victory parade as planes flew overhead and modern and World War Two-era tanks and armoured vehicles trundled by
Putin has forced selected residents of Volgograd to quarantine as part of a huge security operation for his visit
The 1942-43 battle saw the Soviet Red Army, at a cost of over 1 million casualties, break the back of advancing German forces.
Putin laid a wreath at the eternal flame of the memorial complex to the fallen Red Army soldiers in Volgograd, the current name of the city, which stretches along the western bank of the Volga River. The memorial is dominated by a 279-ft sculpture of a sword-wielding woman, Europe’s tallest statue.
Putin was channelling the victory at Stalingrad for his own ends as his forces struggle to make headway in Ukraine.
Participants dressed in historical uniforms get ready for a military parade marking the 80th anniversary of the victory of Red Army over Nazi Germany’s troops in the Battle of Stalingrad during World War Two, in Volgograd, Russia February 2, 2023
A ‘new siege of Stalingrad’ was put in place for Vladimir Putin’s visit to the city, now called Volgograd, amid intense fears over his security
The security services had a massive presence in the city and all but blocked internet traffic ahead of Putin’s visit while there has been a ban since last week on trucks moving around the city.
Thousands of people lined Volgograd’s streets on Thursday to watch a victory parade as planes flew overhead and modern and World War Two-era tanks and armoured vehicles trundled by.
Some of the modern vehicles had the letter ‘V’ painted on them, a symbol used by Russia’s forces in Ukraine.
Russian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill, using the official characterization of the conflict that began nearly a year ago, said: ‘The achievement of our fathers and grandfathers, showing unprecedented heroism, valor and self-sacrifice during the defense of Stalingrad, still inspires our courageous soldiers who carry out responsible combat missions on the fields of the special military operation and defend the sovereignty, independence and security of our country.’
Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo). The mammoth security operation in Volgograd indicated Russia’s fears that Putin could face an assassination attempt amid the war with Ukraine
Pictured: A deserted street in Volgograd. Locals were ordered to take time off work to keep them off the streets and Governor of the Volgograd Region, Andrey Bocharov, was also forced into nine days quarantine before coming into close proximity with Putin
‘The city is under siege,’ said ProCurator Telegram channel.
Irina Zolotoreva, a 61-year old resident who said relatives fought at Stalingrad, saw a parallel with Ukraine.
‘It evokes an association. Our country is fighting for justice, for freedom. We got victory in 1942 and that’s an example for today’s generation. I think we’ll win again now whatever happens.’
A comment from a man called Vadim branded Putin ‘the most cowardly ruler in the history of the country’.
Another local mocked: ‘What is Vovka [Putin] afraid of?’
The commenter stated sarcastically: ‘He has unconditional support in the country…’
Politicians in ‘rotten’ Europe did not need to take such measures, he added.
Opposition politician Boris Vishnevsky, 67, accused Putin of abusing the anniversary for a ‘propaganda narrative’ linked to his war in Ukraine.
Putin’s said last year that ‘the special military operation should be equated with the Great Patriotic War [WW2], that the West has always been against us, our enemy, not an ally.’
‘This is a falsification of history,’ he added, addressing the war against ‘Nazism’.
Russian service members drive a tank during a military parade marking the 80th anniversary of the victory of Red Army over Nazi Germany’s troops in the Battle of Stalingrad during World War Two, in Volgograd, Russia February 2, 2023
A view of Stalin’s bust during the inauguration of the busts of WWII military leaders Zhukov, Stalin and Vasilevsky at the Stalingrad Museum-Panorama Complex on the 80th anniversary of Stalingrad Battle marked with various events in Volgograd, Russia on February 1, 2023
On Wednesday a new monument to Soviet leader Josef Stalin was unveiled Volgograd, along with two others, of Soviet commanders Georgy Zhukov and Alexander Vasilyevsky, amid a campaign to revert the city’s name permanently to Stalingrad.
Yet two thirds of residents oppose such a move, according to a poll.
For now a local law allows it to change its name to Stalingrad for certain public holidays.
News outlet SOTA reported: ‘Residents of Krasnooktyabrsky, Voroshilovsky and central districts noted massive interruptions with the internet.
‘In the central district, operators completely disconnected the Internet.
‘On the afternoon of February 2, local residents continue to complain about the work of mobile operators, saying that the internet is being jammed.
‘Citizens also note problems with cellular communications.
‘As subscribers tell me, since midnight in the central districts, all operators have cut off the Internet everywhere.’
Russian servicemen march during a military parade marking the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad during World War Two, in the southern city of Volgograd on February 2, 2023
Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov (R) attends a wreath laying ceremony at the memorial stone for World War II Hero City Stalingrad near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, in front of the Kremlin wall at Alexander Garden in Moscow, Russia, 02 February 2023
The city had been spruced up ahead of Putin’s one day visit, curtailed from earlier suggestions he would be in Volgograd for several days.
Stray dogs were also removed from the streets.
And tumbledown houses were screened off so Putin did not see the poverty in which his people live.
At noon, crowds were cleared from Mamayev Kurgan, scene of the monument to the Battle of Stalingrad, leaving it deserted ahead of Putin’s visit.
The security clampdown came as Putin less frequently makes major visits involving the public.
People examine Soviet WWII-era guns during celebrations marking the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad during World War Two, in the southern city of Volgograd on February 2, 2023
Communist supporters hold placards calling for renaming Volgograd to Stalingrad as it was previously called, in Volgograd, as they lineup at the Tomb Stalingrad during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, near the Kremlin Wall as they attend a commemoration marking the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the battle of Stalingrad in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023
There are rumours that he increasingly uses body doubles due to his failing health and fears over his safety.
The focal point for the the World War Two commemorations is a memorial complex to the city’s defenders, located on a hill overlooking the River Volga which is dominated by a hulking statue of a woman wielding a giant sword called The Motherland Calls.
The industrial city of Tsaritsyn was renamed in honour of Stalin in 1925, but became Volgograd in 1961, eight years after his death, when his legacy fell out of favour.
Despite Stalin’s record of presiding over a famine that killed millions and political repression that killed hundreds of thousands, Russian politicians and school text books have in recent years stressed his role as a successful wartime leader who turned the Soviet Union into a superpower.
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