MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to cast Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies.
Speaking Monday at a military parade marking the World War II victory over the Nazis, Putin drew parallels between the Red Army’s fighting against the Nazi troops and the Russian forces’ action in Ukraine.
He said the campaign in Ukraine was a timely and necessary move to ward off what he described as “an absolutely unacceptable threat just next to our borders.”
“The danger was rising” he said, adding that “Russia has preemptively repulsed an aggression” in what he described as a “forced, timely and the only correct decision by a sovereign, powerful and independent country.”
The Russian leader again scolded the West for failing to heed Russian demands for security guarantees and a rollback to NATO’s expansion, arguing that it left Moscow no other choice but to launch an action in Ukraine.
Putin claimed that Russian troops were fighting for the country’s security in Ukraine and observed a minute of silence to honor the troops who fell in combat. Putin noted that some of the troops taking part in the parade have previously fought in Ukraine.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— More than 60 feared dead in bombing of Ukrainian school
— “Everything shook”: Last civilians leave Ukraine steel mill
— G-7 leaders vow to ban or cut back on Russian oil imports
— Jill Biden pays surprise visit to Ukraine, meets first lady
Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
At least two people were reported detained in Russia’s Siberia on Monday for carrying anti-war banners.
OVD-Info, a prominent legal aid group that tracks political arrests, said that one person was picketing in the Siberian city of Irkutsk with a placard that said, “Peace,” and another person in Novosibirsk was detained during the Immortal Regiment march in the city for carrying a banner that said, “I’m ashamed of you, grandchildren. We fought for peace, you chose war.”
Immortal Regiment marches on Monday are taking place in many Russian cities, with Russians carrying portraits of their relatives who took part in World War II. In another Siberian region, Zabaykalye, Gov. Alexander Osipov brought a portrait of a soldier who died in Ukraine to the Immortal Regiment march in the city of Chita.
LONDON — The U.K. is imposing stiff tariffs on platinum and palladium imports from Russia as part of a new package of sanctions aimed at punishing President Vladimir Putin’s regime for the invasion of Ukraine.
Britain plans to raise import taxes on platinum, palladium and chemicals by 35 percentage points, restricting trade in products that are worth about 1.4 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) a year to the Russia economy, the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry said in a statement released late Sunday. Russia is one of the world’s biggest producers of the two metals, widely used in goods ranging from catalytic converters to mobile phones.
The U.K. is also targeting Russian industries that depend on British products, banning the export of goods such as chemicals, plastics, rubber and machinery.
“We are determined to do our utmost to thwart Putin’s aims in Ukraine and undermine his illegal invasion, which has seen barbaric acts perpetrated against the Ukrainian people,” Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said in a statement. “This far-reaching package of sanctions will inflict further damage on the Russian war machine.”
LVIV, Ukraine — Satellite images analyzed by The Associated Press confirm that a school in eastern Ukraine where some 60 people are feared killed in a Russian airstrike has been destroyed.
The photos taken by Planet Labs PBC show the school in Bilohorivka in Ukraine’s Luhansk region standing on Saturday. An image taken Sunday shows the building was flattened.
Ukrainian officials say some 90 people had taken shelter in the school before it was flattened. Some 30 escaped, leading officials to fear some 60 people had been killed.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt says the Scandinavian country will donate an extra 100 million kroner ($10.5 million) to Ukraine.
Huitfeldt, who visited Kyiv on Sunday and met with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, said she said the money will be used for payments of pensions, social benefits and salaries for health personnel, teachers and government employees.
“The need is great and Ukrainian authorities will spend the money immediately,” Huitfeldt said in a statement.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s military is warning that there is a “high probability of missile strikes” amid Russia’s war on the country.
The warning came Monday just ahead of Russia’s Victory Day parade in Moscow.
The Ukrainian military’s general staff also said that in Russian-controlled areas of Zaporizhzhia, Russian troops had begun the “seizure of personal documents from the local population without good reason.” Ukraine said Russian troops seized the documents to force the local people to take part in Victory Day commemorations there.
Ukraine’s military also warned that Russia had located some 19 battalion tactical groups in Russia’s Belgorod region, just across the border. Those groups likely consist of some 15,200 troops with tanks, missile batteries and other weaponry.
LVIV, Ukraine — The British military is warning that Russia is running out of precision-guided munitions, meaning that Moscow increasingly will turn to inaccurate rockets and bombs that can spread destruction even wider.
The British Defense Ministry made the comment Monday in a daily intelligence report it provides via Twitter.
The British military said although Russia claimed that “Ukrainian cities would therefore be safe from bombardment,” the unguided munitions posed an increasing risk.
“As the conflict continues beyond Russian pre-war expectations, Russia’s stockpile of precision-guided munitions has likely been heavily depleted," the report said. "This has forced the use of readily available but aging munitions that are less reliable, less accurate and more easily intercepted.”
The British added that Russia “will likely struggle to replace the precision weaponry it has already expended.”
TOKYO — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says Japan will slowly phase out Russian oil imports in unity with the Group of Seven’s effort against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Leaders from the G-7 countries met online Sunday and announced their commitment to ban or phase out Russian oil imports in their latest effort to pressure Moscow into ending its aggression on Ukraine.
“It’s an extremely difficult decision for a country that mostly relies on energy imports, including oil,” Kishida told reporters Monday. “But G-7 unity is most important right now.”
Kishida said it will be a gradual and slow process of phasing out Russian oil imports and that details and timeline will be decided later as the process requires securing alternative energy sources.
About 4% of Japanese oil imports come from Russia. Japan has also announced phasing out Russian coal imports.
Japan will not ban imports from its own stakes in oil and natural gas projects in Russia, including those in Sakhalin, Kishida said.
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations chief says he is “appalled” at the reported attack on a school in the Ukrainian town of Bilohorivka, where many people were apparently seeking shelter from fighting.
A U.N. spokesperson said Sunday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterates that civilians and civilian infrastructure must be spared under international law.
Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric says, “This war must end, and peace must be established in line with the Charter of the United Nations and international law. The United Nations and its humanitarian partners in Ukraine will continue supporting those whose lives have been shattered by war.”
ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine — More than 170 people have been evacuated from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol after weeks of shelling and fighting as Russia attempts to take over the port city.
That’s according to a Sunday statement by Osnat Lubrani, the United Nation’s humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine.
The evacuees have been taken to Zaporizhzhia, a city in southeastern Ukraine. Lubrani says more than 600 people have now been evacuated from the Mariupol area.
The most recent evacuation was the latest effort to rescue people from tunnels beneath the Azovstal steel mine, where Ukrainian fighters are trying to hold off Russian attackers.
The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross have been coordinating the evacuations.
KYIV, Ukraine — Leaders from the Group of Seven developed democracies pledged Sunday to phase out or ban the import of Russian oil as they met with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for online talks to stress their support and to display unity among Western allies on Victory in Europe Day, which marks Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945.
Cutting out Russian oil supplies “will hit hard at the main artery of (President Vladimir) Putin’s economy and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war,” the G-7 countries, which include the U.S., Britain, Canada, Germany, France and Italy and Japan, said in a statement.
“We will ensure that we do so in a timely and orderly fashion, and in ways that provide time for the world to secure alternative supplies,” they added.
Casting a look back at World War II, the leaders stressed unity in their resolve that Putin must not win.
“We owe it to the memory of all those who fought for freedom in the Second World War, to continue fighting for it today, for the people of Ukraine, Europe and the global community,” they said.