Europe's week: EU celebrates its foundation as war rages in Ukraine

A man lays flowers at an Unknown Soldier Tomb to mark Victory Day in World War II, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, May 9, 2022, as the Russian attack on Ukraine continues.
A man lays flowers at an Unknown Soldier Tomb to mark Victory Day in World War II, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, May 9, 2022, as the Russian attack on Ukraine continues. Copyright Efrem Lukatsky/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.Euronews
By Stefan Grobe
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Monday saw European leaders gather on Europe Day at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.


Russia flexed its military muscle this week – not in Ukraine, but on Moscow's Red Square.

A huge parade marked the 1945 Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.

By channeling Russian pride in its World War II triumph, Putin tried to mobilise public support for the invasion in Ukraine where Russian forces are mired in a military stalemate.

Putin blamed the West and Ukraine for the war, especially because of the continuing military support that the United States and Europe are providing to the Ukrainians.

At the same time, as the EU celebrated Europe Day, Ukraine kept pushing for rapid membership to join the bloc, but some European heavyweights have other ideas about a post-war political architecture.

"We need to find a political form that allows us to bring together states that share its values and that are in this geography, and to build a political coordination together," French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday. "No doubt forms of solidarity in terms of security, which are not the same as NATO, which are elements of cooperation, perhaps of solidarity, to be defined."

Meanwhile, fierce battles raged in eastern Ukraine, which Russia is seeking to secure, having failed to take Kyiv and the north.

That's why more and more western countries are re-opening their embassies in the capital, Germany among them.

Its foreign minister traveled to Kyiv and the suburbs this week.

In Bucha which has become a symbol of Russian atrocities, a visbly shaken Annalena Bearbock toured damaged buildings and spoke to local officials.

Horrified, she said she saw “the worst traces of crime” and made this pledge: "We owe it to these victims not only to commemorate them but also to bring the perpetrators to justice. And that is what we will do as an international community, that is the promise that we can and must make here in Bucha."

When it comes to atrocities and potential war crimes, time is of the essence to collect evidence and document statements by witnesses.

This is what Amnesty International has been doing over the past weeks. Its report, published a few days ago, provides devastating accounts of indiscriminate Russian killing and material that should support ongoing investigations into potential war crimes.

Agnès Callamard, secretary-general of Amnesty International told Euronews that although violations have been committed by both sides, Russian crimes are far more widespread.

"At the moment we are following up on violations perpetrated by Ukraine. There is no doubt that there have been a few of them, but the scale is not comparable to the violations committed by Russia and that must be emphasised and highlighted," Callamard said. 

"The Russian violations include a vast number of indiscriminate attacks on civilians, on civilians' properties, and that includes acts of torture. It includes a large number of extrajudicial executions of people who are being held up in a state of siege."

Callamard added that she believes there is no reasonable explanation for this war.

"The most shocking dimension of that conflict is the fact that it holds has no basis, no rational way of explaining," she said. "There is no justification for the invasion, the aggression of Russia against Ukraine. I've seen many conflicts and you can root for root causes and find always explanations. In that case, frankly, you draw a blank."

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