Ukraine will triumph as Europe did in 1945, Scholz said in VE Day speech | VE day

Ukraine will triumph over Russia as freedom triumphed over the Nazi dictatorship in 1945, the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholzwill say in a TV speech marking the 77th anniversary of Victory Day in Europe, in which he will accuse Vladimir Putin of falsifying history.

In the speech, which will be broadcast on German TV at 8.20pm CET (7.20pm BST) on Sunday, Scholz says the “legacy of May 8” must be for his country to ensure there will never be genocide or tyranny again. in Europe

“I am deeply convinced. Putin will not win the war,” said the centre-left politician. “Ukraine will prevail. Freedom and security will triumph, just as freedom and security triumphed over servitude, violence and dictatorship 77 years ago.”

Scholz says it is “history falsified and disgraceful” for the Russian president to equate his own “barbaric war of aggression” with the fight against National Socialism. “It is our duty to state this clearly,” his speech said.

In keeping with the messages of earlier post-war German leaders on May 8, Scholz thanks the Allies for their defeat of Nazi Germanyand says his country is indebted to both Russia and Ukraine, which killed millions in World War II.

Scholz has repeatedly expressed German support for Ukraine’s defensive effort, but diplomatic relations between Berlin and Kiev have been frosty. Ukrainian diplomats have accused his left-liberal coalition government of hesitating embargoes on Russian energy and military hardware deliveries

The chancellor, meanwhile, seemed personally piqued after German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, formerly an ally of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), was told last month he was not welcome to visit Kiev together with Eastern European leaders.

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said last week that he had made amends with Steinmeier and… invited Scholz to a symbolic visit to the capital of Ukraine on May 9† The German leader gave no indication on Sunday whether he was likely to accept it or not.

Since the start of the war in late February, several European politicians have visited Ukraine, including the leader of the German parliamentary opposition. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a surprise visit to Irpin on Sunday, and US President’s wife Jill Biden met Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, on an unannounced visit to the west of the country.

In what she called an “icebreaker” visit, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas also traveled to Kiev on Sunday to commemorate the victims of World War II, laying wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with her Ukrainian counterpart, Ruslan Stefanchuk, the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy greets Bärbel Bas in Kiev
Volodymyr Zelenskiy greets Bärbel Bas in Kiev. Photo: AP

“For me, this day is special because it not only commemorates, but should also serve to reconcile,” said Bas, whose presidency of the sessions in the German legislature is similar to that of the speaker in other parliaments.

The SPD politician said her visit was to commemorate all victims of World War II, in Ukraine as well as in Russia, Poland, Belarus, the Baltic States and other states in Central and Eastern Europe.

Public figures in Berlin, meanwhile, stayed away from rallies marking the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s surrender for fear that commemorative events could be used for propaganda purposes.

“The situation is very distressing, and this must be taken into account at any memorial,” said Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey, justifying her absence and her senators at the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial in the city’s Treptower Park. .

The Russian embassy in the German capital, which has hosted the event in the past, has not made its plans public this year due to security concerns.

The surrender of Germany is traditionally celebrated in Western Europe on May 8, but due to time zones, it is marked on May 9 in Russia, Belarus, Serbia and Israel.

Berlin’s Senator for the Interior, Iris Spranger, said police will try to suppress all public expressions of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on May 8-9, including beeps at car demonstrations.

People take part in a pro-Russian rally in Cologne
People take part in a pro-Russian demonstration in Cologne. Photo: Thilo Schmülgen/Reuters

About 1,000 people attended a pro-Russian rally on Sunday at Lake Fühlinger in Cologne, waving the red-white-blue flag of the modern Russian republic and the red flag of the former Soviet Union.

Displaying Russian flags near 15 memorial sites in Berlin was banned.

The city’s decision to include Ukrainian flags in the ban has been heavily criticized by the country’s ambassador to Germany. Andrij Melnyk said the ban, which exempts the display of flags by diplomats, was “a slap in the face to the Ukrainian people”.

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