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Britain says Putin struggling to 'maintain the narrative used to justify war'

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Britain’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has said Russia is struggling to maintain the narrative that its conflict in Ukraine is similar to the Soviet Union’s fight against the Nazis in World War II.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said he wanted to “condemn” Ukraine for its invasion of the country in February last year.

Putin, aided by the country’s state media, has exploited the memory of World War II, a lynchpin of Russia’s national identity.

However, in its latest intelligence update on Saturday, the MoD said: The Russian state is struggling to maintain consistency in a core narrative used to justify the war in Ukraine: that the invasion was based on the Soviet experience in World War II. conforms to. ,

It said that the country’s state media saying that the cancellation of this year’s Immortal Regiment “Great Patriotic War” commemoration march was on “security” grounds is false.

The MoD said the real reason for canceling them is that Russian officials are becoming concerned that attendees will highlight the rising death toll from the war.

The update says Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has questioned whether there are any Nazis in Ukraine – directly contradicting Putin’s central justification for the conflict.

Military contractors currently have thousands of troops in Ukraine and have previously been accused of human rights abuses in the country as well as in Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Mali and Mozambique.

The MoD update said: “The authorities continue to attempt to unite the Russian public around polarizing myths about the 1940s.

This handout photo released by the Telegram channel of Belgorod region governor Vyacheslav Gladkov shows the site of a crater following an eruption in Belgorod, Russia.

(Telegram channel of the Governor of the Belgorod Region Vyacheslav Gladkov)

“On 12 April 2023, state news agency RIA Novosti reported on ‘unique’ documents from the FSB archives implicating the Nazis in the 1940 Katyn massacre of 22,000 Polish civilians.

In fact, the FSB’s predecessor agency, the NKVD, was responsible. Russia’s State Duma officially denounced Joseph Stalin for ordering the killings in 2010.

Thousands of people were evacuated on Saturday in a Russian town near the Ukrainian border after an explosive device was found where a bomb accidentally dropped by a Russian warplane triggered a powerful explosion, officials said.

The bomb blast, which happened late on Thursday, rocked part of Belgorod, leaving a large crater and injuring three people.

The Russian Defense Ministry quickly acknowledged that a weapon accidentally released by one of its own Su-34 bombers caused the explosion.

Belgorod province governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said Saturday that sappers examining the site of Thursday’s explosion found and decided to detonate what he called an “explosive object” that was “in the immediate vicinity of residential buildings.”

Additional reporting by agencies