By Peter McLaren-Kennedy •
Updated: 18 Mar 2022 • 16:32
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A large rally held in Russia today March 18th saw President Vladimir Putin hail the country’s “special operation” in Ukraine at a rally to mark the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea.
Held in Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, the host stadium ar the World Cup final in 2018, the packed venue saw supporters sing patriot songs and crowds waving Russian flags and shouting: “Russia! Russia! Russia!”
Social media posts showed footage from the stadium and a sea of red, blue and white flags and banners, with one reading: “For Putin!”
Putin told the cheering fans that: “We will implement all our plans”, insisting that the “main purpose” of the invasion of Ukraine is to “save people from suffering and genocide.”
He continued saying that our troops are fighting “shoulder to shoulder” adding: “We haven’t had such unity in such a long time.”
In a rather odd moment, the cameras cut away from the Russian leader before he was finished and proceeded to show patriotic songs being sung.
Sky correspondent Alistair Bunkall said: “We have become accustomed to seeing President Putin sitting one end of a very long table and either his senior security figure sitting the other end or any foreign leaders that have visited him.
“We have become used to him being paranoid about catching COVID and not wanting to be close to anybody – but now we see him out and about at a stadium in Moscow with thousands of people waving the Russian flag.
“As closed off as much as he might be to the rest of the world, I’m sure he can’t have failed to realise that continually sitting in a bunker gives the impression of a bunker mentality, and so he wants to try and prove that the Russian people and behind him and behind his, what he describes, as the ‘special operation’ inside Ukraine.
“He has been praising that operation, saying that it’s going successfully. But it isn’t an operation, it’s an invasion, it’s a war that has so far yet failed to comprehensively take and hold a city. They have failed to even encircle the capital Kyiv. They have failed to unseat the government of President Zelenskyy. They have lost four of their major generals on the frontline, plus thousands of other troops and a lot of equipment as well.
“And this was supposed to be one of the most fearsome, one of the most powerful military forces in the world.
“So the facts bear out: the operation, the invasion, the conflict – is not going well at all for Russia. The Ukrainians are putting up a resistance, and President Putin has given no indication that he’s necessarily aware of that, but one assumes that he must be.
“But this message is a message for his people. He has shut down much of independent media within Russia, he has shut down access to foreign media, social media, and so this is the spin that he is putting on the conflict to the Russian people.”
The rally held by Putin wherein he hails the ‘special operation’ in Ukraine is just the sort of propaganda the government in Russia has worked hard to spread, cutting foreign feeds that show the reality of the situation. The timing of the rally is however interesting given his recent call with the Turkish President wherein he outlined his demands for a ceasefire.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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