As Europe prepares to commemorate the end of World War Two, Russia continues to carry out nightly air raids over Kyiv. Meanwhile, Moscow prepares for its annual Victory Day parade.
Ukraine and Russia pressed their wartime rhetoric on Thursday, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressing confidence that Vladimir Putin would be convicted of war crimes, and the Kremlin alleging that the U.S. was behind what it called an assassination attempt against the Russian president.
The countries' leaders have personally attacked each other multiple times during the war that Russia started by invading Ukraine in February 2022. The latest flare-up came on Wednesday, with Russia's claim that Ukraine had attacked the Kremlin in Moscow with drones meant to assassinate Putin.
Zelenskyy denied that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the purported drone attack. The Kremlin promised unspecified retaliation for what it termed a “terrorist” act, and pro-Kremlin figures called for the assassinations of senior Ukraine leaders.
Uncertainty still surrounds exactly what happened in the purported attack.
Zelenskyy presses the international community for support
In The Hague, where the International Criminal Court is based, Zelenskyy urged the global community to hold Putin accountable and told the war crimes court's judges that Russia's leader “deserves to be sentenced for (his) criminal actions right here in the capital of the international law.”
In March, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine. It was the first time the global court circulated a warrant for a leader of one of the five permanent U.N. Security Council members.
Zelenskyy’s visit to the Netherlands came a day after he went to Finland, which doubled the size of NATO’s border with Russia when it joined the military alliance last month, largely out of its concerns about Moscow’s long-term ambitions.
Next week, he is expected to go to Berlin, the capital of European Union economic powerhouse Germany.
More nightly air raids over Kyiv
Sirens went off in the Ukrainian capital on Thursday night as Russian forces pounded the city in nightly air raids. This latest bout lasted around 20 minutes, with exchanges of fire. Kyiv's Mayor, Vitali Klitschko, reported two impacts from downed drones. Two defensive missiles streaked across the evening sky, and a loud explosion was heard. No casualties were immediately reported.
After the all-clear was given, Ukraine’s military said it had taken down one of its own drones that had “lost control” over the capital, but at least one other drone was reportedly shot down in another area of the city and it was not clear whether it was Russian or also Ukrainian.
Russia prepares for Victory Day parade
Meanwhile, preparations for the annual Victory Day parade continue in Moscow. Russia celebrates the 9th of May on Red Square with a military parade, to commemorate the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
Despite government claims that the alleged drone attack was meant to target President Vladimir Putin, authorities have confirmed that the parade would go on as scheduled.
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