Vladimir Putin has used his Victory Day speech in Moscow to justify his invasion of Ukraine.
Russia says it fighting fascism to justify its bombardment of cities and to launch the largest military campaign since the 1940s.
Putin sought to rally his country through the memory of the second world war “they are fighting for the same thing their fathers and grandfathers did.”
He suggested Russia was “forced” into the war by NATO and pledged to provide aid for the families of soldiers who had died in the Kremlin’s so-called “special operation”.
Speaking at the 77th annual celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Russian president described how it was believed Ukraine was being armed by the west for an imminent attack on Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.
“Nato countries did not want to listen to us, They had different plans, and we saw it. They were planning an invasion into our historic lands, including Crimea … Russia gave a pre-emptive rebuff to aggression, it was a forced, timely and only right decision.”
He described the war as ”the defence of the motherland, when its fate was being decided, has always been sacred.”
The Russian president addressed troop losses in Ukraine saying he had signed a new order that would give educational aid to the children of those killed.
15,000 Russian deaths in Ukraine is enormous for a ten-week campaign, as Russia refuses to acknowledge the folly of their foolhardy aggression in its neighbouring country.
After the sinking of the Moskva cruiser in the Black Sea, several families went public with claims that the military was trying to avoid confirming deaths onboard the ship.
“The death of each of our soldiers and officers is a grief for all of us and an irreparable loss for relatives and friends, The state, regions, enterprises, public organisations will do everything to take care of such families and help them. The presidential decree on this was signed today, he added.