Live Updates: Russia Flaunts Military Might in Parade

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LIVEUpdated May 9, 2022, 3:02 a.m. ET1 minute ago1 minute ago

Live Updates: Russia Flaunts Military Might in Parade

The annual celebration to mark the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany will provide President Putin with a chance on Monday to declare victory in a war that by most accounts is locked in a bloody stalemate.

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A World War II memorial in Kyiv on Sunday, a Ukrainian holiday known as the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation.
A World War II memorial in Kyiv on Sunday, a Ukrainian holiday known as the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation.Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

1 new update

Neil MacFarquhar

Here are the latest developments in the war on Ukraine.

More than two months into the invasion of Ukraine, Red Square in Moscow will reverberate on Monday with the distinctive roar of the May 9 Victory Day parade, an annual display of carefully choreographed military muscle that has few equals anywhere in the world.

This year’s parade will draw scrutiny less for all that raw armed power marching past President Vladimir V. Putin, however, than for questions about how he plans to use it. For all its military superiority over Ukraine, Russia is still struggling to make significant gains there.

Its offensive across the north collapsed. Control over towns and villages in the eastern Donbas region, where Russia has concentrated its forces, continues to seesaw. The Russians have gained ground along the coast, but at the cost of leveling cities like Mariupol and the deaths of countless civilians.

There has been rampant speculation about what Mr. Putin might announce concerning the war on the holiday, ranging from widening the military draft — an idea that the Kremlin has rejected — to declaring victory by citing the territory claimed along the coast. That would be a departure from recent years, when Mr. Putin has largely avoided using the parade to announce policies or plans, instead concentrating his brief remarks on paying tribute to the millions of Russians who died in World War II.

Mr. Putin has sought to turn the parade into a symbol of his effort resurrect Russia as a global power, and to tie the continuation of his presidency to the same national unity, sacrifice and centralized authority needed to defeat Nazi Germany.

In other developments:

  • Leaders of the Group of 7 nations pledged during a virtual meeting on Sunday with President Volodymyr Zelensky to ban or phase out Russian oil, aiming to still further erode Russia’s economic standing as it pursues its invasion of Ukraine.
  • Both Jill Biden, the American first lady, and Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, made separate, unannounced visits to Ukraine. Local officials posted pictures of the Canadian premier touring devastation in the town of Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv.
  • Dozens of people are feared dead after a Russian airstrike leveled a school in eastern Ukraine on Saturday, local officials said, as Russian forces kept up their unrelenting bombardment of towns and cities across the region.

Show moreNeil MacFarquhar1 minute ago

Neil MacFarquharReporting from Istanbul

The generals starting the parade are riding in a convertible version of the Aurus Senat, a limousine that Putin ordered built in Russia and that was first presented to him in 2018. Putin had used a Mercedes limousine for years, but replacing that became another symbol of this effort to show that Russia was a great power.3 minutes ago

Eshe Nelson

The Woman Steering Russia’s War Economy

Elvira Nabiullina, the Central Bank of Russia’s leader since 2013, is credited with shoring up the ruble and Russia’s defenses against global sanctions.
Elvira Nabiullina, the Central Bank of Russia’s leader since 2013, is credited with shoring up the ruble and Russia’s defenses against global sanctions.Credit…Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters
Elvira Nabiullina, the Central Bank of Russia’s leader since 2013, is credited with shoring up the ruble and Russia’s defenses against global sanctions.

For the second time in less than a decade, Elvira Nabiullina is steering Russia’s economy through treacherous waters.

In 2014, facing a collapsing ruble and soaring inflation after barely a year as head of the Central Bank of Russia, Ms. Nabiullina forced the institution into the modern era of economic policymaking by sharply raising interest rates. The politically risky move slowed the economy, tamed soaring prices and won her an international reputation as a tough decision maker.

In the world of central bankers, among technocrats tasked with keeping prices under control and financial systems stable, Ms. Nabiullina became a rising star for using orthodox policies to manage an unruly economy often tethered to the price of oil. In 2015, she was named Central Bank Governor of the Year by Euromoney magazine. Three years later, Christine Lagarde, then the head of the International Monetary Fund, effused that Ms. Nabiullina could make “central banking sing.”

Now it falls to Ms. Nabiullina to steer Russia’s economy through a deep recession, and to keep its financial system, cut off from much of the rest of the world, intact. The challenge follows years she spent strengthening Russia’s financial defenses against the kind of powerful sanctions that have been wielded in response to President Vladimir V. Putin’s geopolitical aggression.

She has guided the extraordinary rebound of Russia’s currency, which lost a quarter of its value within days of the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. The central bank took aggressive measures to stop large sums of money from leaving the country, arresting a panic in markets and halting a potential run on the banking system.

In late April, Russia’s Parliament confirmed Ms. Nabiullina, 58, for five more years as chairwoman after Mr. Putin nominated her to serve a third term.

“She’s an important beacon of stability for Russia’s financial system,” said Elina Ribakova, the deputy chief economist of the Institute of International Finance, an industry group in Washington. “Her reappointment has symbolic value.”

Ms. Nabiullina in 2019 with President Vladimir V. Putin. She has been a high-ranking official in his regime for two decades.
Ms. Nabiullina in 2019 with President Vladimir V. Putin. She has been a high-ranking official in his regime for two decades.Credit…Sputnik, via Reuters

In her last crisis, she turned a catastrophe into an opportunity. In 2014, Russia was rocked by twin economic shocks: a collapse in oil prices — caused by a jump in U.S. production and the refusal of Saudi Arabia to cut production, denting Russia’s oil revenue — and economic sanctions imposed after Russia annexed Crimea.

The ruble plummeted. Ms. Nabiullina abandoned traditional policies — such as spending vast amounts of foreign currency reserves to support the exchange rate — and turned the bank’s focus to managing inflation. She raised interest rates to 17 percent, and they stayed relatively high for years.

It was a painful readjustment, and the economy shrank for a year and a half. But by mid-2017, she had managed something that had seemed far-fetched just a few years earlier: The inflation rate fell below 4 percent, the lowest in the country’s post-Soviet era.

“She’s been the very model of a modern central banker,” said Richard Portes, a professor of economics at London Business School who has shared panel stages with Ms. Nabiullina at conferences.

“She was doing what she had to do,” he said, even when it was politically difficult. “If you want a demonstration of the alternative,” Mr. Portes added, “you need look only at Turkey,” where years of political interference in the central bank have allowed inflation to run out of control, reaching 70 percent this month.

Under Ms. Nabiullina’s direction, the central bank kept up its modernizing efforts. It improved its communication by scheduling key policy decisions, providing guidance about policy, meeting with analysts and submitting to interviews with reporters. The Central Bank of Russia came to be regarded as the key economic brain of the country, attracting respected economists from the private sector.

At its annual conference in St. Petersburg, the central bank drew economists from around the world, and Ms. Nabiullina attended international gatherings, including the Federal Reserve’s annual symposium at Jackson Hole in Wyoming and regular meetings for central bankers held by the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland.

She has been described as personable, focused, always well-prepared, an advocate of market forces (despite her Soviet-era economics education) and a fan of history and opera. Born in Ufa, a city more than 700 miles east of Moscow known for heavy industry, she studied at Moscow State University, one of the country’s most prestigious schools, and is married to a fellow economist.

Ms. Nabiullina at a meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank officials in Japan in 2019.
Ms. Nabiullina at a meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank officials in Japan in 2019.Credit…Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Besides her record on monetary policy, Ms. Nabiullina has drawn praise for pursuing a thorough cleanup of the banking industry. In her first five years at the bank, she revoked about 400 banking licenses — essentially closing a third of Russia’s banks — in an effort to cull weak institutions that were making what she termed “dubious transactions.”

It was considered a brave crusade: In 2006, a central bank official who had started a vigorous campaign to close banks suspected of money laundering was assassinated.

“Fighting corruption in the banking sector is a job for very courageous people,” said Sergei Guriev, a Russian economist who left the country in 2013 and is now a professor at Sciences Po in Paris. He called her program flawed, though, because it was largely limited to private banks. This created a moral hazard problem that left state-owned banks feeling comfortable taking on lots of risk with the protection of the government, he said.

Ms. Nabiullina’s integrity has never been questioned, added Mr. Guriev, who said he had known her for 15 years. “She’s never been suspected of any corruption.”

The central bank’s headquarters in Moscow. Under Ms. Nabiullina, the share of dollars in its reserves fell to about 11 percent.
The central bank’s headquarters in Moscow. Under Ms. Nabiullina, the share of dollars in its reserves fell to about 11 percent.Credit…The New York Times

Ms. Nabiullina has been a high-ranking official in Mr. Putin’s regime for two decades. She was his chief economic adviser for little more than a year before she was made chair of the central bank in June 2013, having already served as minister for economic development while Mr. Putin was prime minister.

“She’s well-trusted in the government and by the president,” said Sofya Donets, an economist at Renaissance Capital in Moscow who worked at the central bank from 2007 to 2019. In recent years, it was quite evident that all kinds of policy questions in the financial sphere were delegated to the central bank, she added.

This trust was built up while Ms. Nabiullina was buttressing Russia’s economy against Western sanctions, especially from the long reach of American penalties. In 2014, the United States cut off many major Russian companies from its capital markets. But these companies had large amounts of foreign currency debt, raising alarms over how they would service their debts.

Ms. Nabiullina set about squeezing as many U.S. dollars from the economy as possible, so that companies and banks would be less vulnerable if Washington further restricted access to the country’s use of dollars.

She also shifted the bank’s reserves, which grew to be worth more than $600 billion, toward gold, the euro and the Chinese renminbi. Over her tenure, the share of dollars in the reserves fell to about 11 percent, from more than 40 percent, Ms. Nabiullina told Parliament last month. Even after sanctions froze the bank’s overseas reserves, the country has “sufficient” reserves in gold and renminbi, she told lawmakers.

Other protections against sanctions included an alternative to SWIFT, the global banking messaging system, developed in recent years. And the bank changed the payments infrastructure to process credit card transactions in the country so even the exit of Visa and Mastercard would have minimal effect.

In March, Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, reported that Ms. Nabiullina had tried to resign after the Ukraine invasion, and had been rebuffed by Mr. Putin. The central bank rejected those reports.

Last month, the Canadian government placed her under sanctions for being a “close associate of the Russian regime.”

Mr. Guriev, who has not been in recent contact with Ms. Nabiullina, said he thought she might be staying in her role because she could convince herself that if she stepped down, inflation would get out of control and ordinary Russians would be hurt more severely.

“However, I think that she is actually propping up Putin’s war economy,” he added. “She is actually doing something that she didn’t sign up for.”

The offices of the state-owned Sberbank in Moscow. When Ms. Nabiullina revoked hundreds of banking licenses early in her tenure, state banks were largely spared.
The offices of the state-owned Sberbank in Moscow. When Ms. Nabiullina revoked hundreds of banking licenses early in her tenure, state banks were largely spared.Credit…The New York Times

After Ms. Nabiullina spent nearly a decade building a reputation for subduing inflation and bringing traditional monetary policy to Russia, the Western financial penalties imposed after the Ukraine invasion quickly forced her to abandon her preferred policies. She more than doubled the interest rate, to 20 percent; used capital controls to severely restrict the flow of money out of the country; shut down stock trading on the Moscow Exchange; and loosened regulations on banks so lending didn’t seize up.

These measures stopped the initial panic and helped the ruble rebound, but the capital controls have only been partly lifted.

Now Russia is entering into a steep recession with a closed economy. On April 29, the bank lowered the interest rate to 14 percent, a sign it was shifting from quelling a financial tornado to trying to minimize the prolonged impact of sanctions on households and businesses as inflation speeds up and companies are forced to reinvent their supply chains without imported goods.

Inflation has climbed steeply, and could reach an annual rate of 23 percent this year, the central bank forecast. The overall economy, it said, could shrink as much as 10 percent.

“We are in a zone of enormous uncertainty,” Ms. Nabiullina said.

Liz Alderman contributed reporting.

Moscow two days after the invasion of Ukraine. By managing a war economy, Ms. Nabiullina “is actually doing something that she didn’t sign up for,” said Sergei Guriev, a Russian economist.
Moscow two days after the invasion of Ukraine. By managing a war economy, Ms. Nabiullina “is actually doing something that she didn’t sign up for,” said Sergei Guriev, a Russian economist.Credit…The New York Times

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Continue reading the main storyhttps://fa95e0b2e39961ce0fd1eb19e0b2318b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlAnton Troianovski4 minutes ago

Anton Troianovski

President Vladimir V. Putin has arrived on Moscow’s Red Square for Russia’s main Victory Day parade, ascending to the stands by the Lenin mausoleum in front of the Kremlin and greeting World War II veterans seated there. State television showed thousands of soldiers lined up in formation, with the parade set to begin within minutes.54 minutes ago

Anushka Patil

Russian forces are likely to redeploy to Kharkiv, an analysis says.

Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv last week.
Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv last week.Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times
Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv last week.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive that retook territory around Kharkiv on Saturday likely forced Russian troops to redeploy to the region instead of reinforcing their stalled operations elsewhere in Ukraine’s east, the Institute for the Study of War said on Sunday.

The analysis from the Washington-based research group underscored the success of the Ukrainian forces — armed with new weapons supplied by the United States and other allies — in their counteroffensive around Kharkiv, in the country’s northeast.

Doubling back to the area around Kharkiv would leave the Russian military unable to fully concentrate its efforts in the eastern Donbas region. Russian troops have been struggling to advance there for weeks, despite a concerted push to secure a triumph for President Vladimir V. Putin for his planned Victory Day celebrations on Monday, which will commemorate the Soviet triumph over Nazi Germany.

Russia has failed to make any significant territorial gains since seizing Popasna on Saturday, the analysis said. Troops are now expected to regroup in Belgorod, about 50 miles north of Kharkiv, and focus on preventing the Ukrainian counteroffensive from nearing the border with Russia, the Ukrainian military said.

On Saturday, Ukrainian defenders pushed Russian forces back toward the northeast border and away from the Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. Ukrainian forces have retaken enough territory along the outskirts of Kharkiv over the past week to be in position to unseat Russian forces from the region and reclaim total control of the city “in a matter of days,” the I.S.W. reported recently.Show moreCora Engelbrecht1 hour ago

Cora Engelbrecht

Moscow’s stockpile of precision-guided missiles and bombs have been vastly depleted, the British defense ministry said. The military is relying on munitions that are less accurate and more easily intercepted, resulting in attacks “with little or no regard for civilian casualties,” the report said.1 hour ago

The New York Times

Ben Wallace, the British defense minister, will give a speech about the war in Ukraine on Monday morning. Last week, the government announced more than $1.6 billion in additional aid to Ukraine.Marc Santora1 hour ago

Marc SantoraReporting from Krakow, Poland

The Russian army has deployed 19 battalion tactical groups — each with as many as 1,000 troops — to the Russian border town of Belgorod, the Ukrainian military said. The reinforcements will be used to try to slow the Ukrainian offensive around Kharkiv and to break through Ukrainian defensive lines in Donetsk, the military said.Anushka Patil4 hours ago

Anushka Patil

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reopened the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv during his unannounced visit to Ukraine on Sunday. The U.S. Embassy in the city has not officially reopened, though a team of senior American diplomats returned on Sunday for the first time since Russia’s invasion.5 hours ago

Matthew Goldstein

Seizing an oligarch’s assets is one thing. Giving them to Ukraine is another.

The Amadea, owned by Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian gold magnate, was seized in Fiji on Thursday.
The Amadea, owned by Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian gold magnate, was seized in Fiji on Thursday.Credit…Leon Lord/Fiji Sun, via Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The Amadea, owned by Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian gold magnate, was seized in Fiji on Thursday.

The U.S. government was so pleased with its swift seizure of a Russian oligarch’s 255-foot yacht on the Mediterranean island of Majorca last month that it posted a video on YouTube of the moment F.B.I. agents and Spanish authorities clambered up the gangplank. The $90 million yacht owned by Viktor Vekselberg, called the Tango, was the government’s first big prize in a campaign against billionaires with close ties to the Kremlin.

The Tango is just a sliver of the $1 billion in yachts, planes and artwork — not to mention hundreds of millions in cash — that the United States has identified as belonging to wealthy allies of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, since the invasion of Ukraine. U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui, who approved the seizure, called the pursuit of the yacht by a new Justice Department team called task force kleptocapture “just the beginning of the reckoning that awaits those who would facilitate Putin’s atrocities.”

The reckoning may take a while.

Seizing assets, whether a yacht or a bank account, is the easy part. To permanently confiscate them, the government must usually navigate a potentially cumbersome process known as civil forfeiture, which requires proving to a judge that the assets were obtained from the proceeds of a crime or through money laundering. Only then does the government actually own the assets, and have the power to liquidate them.

All that can take years, especially if the former owner is inclined to fight the forfeiture action in court.

Hoping to speed things up — and quickly get the proceeds from seized assets turned over to the Ukrainian government — the White House announced a plan last week that would make it easier for U.S. authorities to go after some oligarch assets through an administrative procedure led by the Treasury Department.Show more

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Continue reading the main story6 hours ago

Marc Santora

Russia tightens its control over occupied Ukraine.

A replica of the Victory banner in Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia region, in southeastern Ukraine, last week.
A replica of the Victory banner in Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia region, in southeastern Ukraine, last week.Credit…Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press
A replica of the Victory banner in Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia region, in southeastern Ukraine, last week.

As the last civilians were evacuated from bunkers beneath a steel factory in Mariupol, Russian soldiers were dispatched to change road signs leading into the ruined port city — removing Ukrainian and English lettering and replacing it with Russian.

It was the latest example of Moscow attempting to tighten its hold over territories it has seized in southern Ukraine, as its forces step up security and intensify their repressive efforts to bring the regions under the Kremlin’s control.

Russian currency has been introduced in some occupied territories, the internet has been rerouted through Russian servers and workers are being forced to register and receive work permits from Russian proxies installed in local governments. Ukrainian cultural institutions have been looted and Ukrainian memorials to national heroes have been destroyed, according to Ukrainian officials and witness accounts.

In advance of Monday’s Victory Day holiday, Russia sent extra troops to some occupied areas. Ukrainian officials have speculated that Moscow may use the holiday to announce some mechanism — whether a sham referendum or direct annexation — to permanently rip these lands from Ukraine.

“We will integrate with the Russian Federation as much as possible,” said Kirill Stremousov, who was installed by Russian forces as the head of the Kherson region, which Russian forces seized in the early weeks of the war. “All citizens in the Kherson region will have the right to obtain Russian citizenship and Russian passports.”

The deputy of the Kherson regional council, Yury Sobolevsky, said on Sunday that Russians are increasing checkpoints, checking documents and searching private vehicles and public buses with the aim of “clearing the region of people who threaten the occupation regime.”

Russia used similar tactics after it backed a rebellion in eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2014. Russian forces now control the region just north of Crimea, along with Kherson and much of the neighboring region of Zaporizhzhia.

For months, however, the failure to capture Mariupol stood in the way of the Russian objective to firmly connect Crimea to occupied territories in eastern Ukraine, and Russia itself. Now, with only Ukrainian soldiers holding out in bunkers beneath the steel plant and the rest of the city under Russian control, Moscow is seeking to use Mariupol as a showcase to audiences back home, whose vision of the war is blinkered through the tightly controlled lens of state media.

The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate reported that Russian commanders are removing officers from combat and dispatching them to the city to protect visiting Kremlin officials and propagandists.

Local residents in the city of Energodar, in Zaporizhzhia, were stripped of their identification documents and told they could collect them on Monday at a government office. The goal, according to Ukrainian officials, is to gather a large number of Ukrainians in one place on the May 9 holiday to create a scene that could be used in Russian propaganda.

Denis Pushilin, the leader of a Russia-backed breakaway territory in the eastern region of Donetsk, visited Kherson last week and said that the local leaders assured him the region will “strive to become a subject of Russia” and “will resemble something close to Crimea.”

But Ukrainian officials have vowed to drive the Russians from the occupied territories. Ukraine’s minister of defense, Oleksii Reznikov, said that the brutality of the Russian forces is driven by anger over the fact that they were not greeted as liberators.

“They essentially took revenge and retaliated further against Russian-speaking Ukrainians who did not meet them with flowers, as they had dreamed they would in the street, in the square,” he said.Show moreMay 8, 2022

Anushka Patil

A bomb-sniffing dog named Patron received state honors from Zelensky.

Patron on the job at the Gostomel airfield near Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday.
Patron on the job at the Gostomel airfield near Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday.Credit…Oleg Petrasyuk/EPA, via Shutterstock
Patron on the job at the Gostomel airfield near Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has routinely ended his nightly wartime addresses by announcing state awards for Ukraine’s soldiers. On Sunday, he honored a fighter who is perhaps the country’s smallest — a little dog named Patron.

Patron, whose name means “ammo” in Ukrainian, helps sniff out Russian mines and explosives in the northeastern city of Chernihiv and acts as a mascot of the country’s State Emergency Service.

The dog has found more than 200 explosive devices and was taught pyrotechnic work by his owner, Mykhailo Iliev of the Civil Protection Service, Mr. Zelensky said.

Patron’s rise to fame may be another facet of Ukrainian efforts to control the war’s narrative with viral messaging — experts have said that dramatic wartime tales are critical parts of the country’s information strategy. On the Ukrainian S.E.S.’s Facebook page, where they have been sharing updates on Patron’s work, a video of him putting on his vest and clambering into a serviceman’s lap has been seen hundreds of thousands of times.

A clip of the same footage was shared to Twitter an hour later by Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communications — a government agency established to counter Russian disinformation that aims to “develop proactive narratives” and “strengthen Ukraine’s image” — and racked up nearly 900,000 views.

Patron is so adored in Ukraine and beyond that he’s inspired various forms of fan art in his honor. He’s beloved by children, and helps them understand safety rules in areas with mine threats, Mr. Zelensky said while presenting the award in Kyiv, the capital. Informing residents of the dangers of mines has been an ongoing effort for officials in Chernihiv and other regions after reports that retreating Russian forces left buried land mines and jury-rigged bombs across large parts of the country.

Along with receiving a state award on Sunday, Patron also met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, who was on an unannounced visit to the country and patted his pockets during the ceremony in an apparent attempt to locate treats. The dog was “extremely pleased to meet a true friend of Ukraine,” the S.E.S. reported, “even though Mr. Trudeau did not find a piece of Patron’s favorite cheese.”Show more

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Continue reading the main storyMay 8, 2022

Anton Troianovski

May 9 is a revered day in Russia. For many, Putin has hijacked it.

Armored vehicles taking part in a rehearsal in Red Square, Moscow, on Saturday in preparation for the Victory Day military parade.
Armored vehicles taking part in a rehearsal in Red Square, Moscow, on Saturday in preparation for the Victory Day military parade.Credit…Maxim Shipenkov/EPA, via Shutterstock
Armored vehicles taking part in a rehearsal in Red Square, Moscow, on Saturday in preparation for the Victory Day military parade.

Olga Romanova’s grandmother served as a frontline nurse in World War II. She was small and thin, Ms. Romanova said, but somehow carried “big, grown, wounded men” to safety. She met her husband in her four years on the eastern front.

To Ms. Romanova, Russia’s May 9 holiday, marking the Soviet victory over the Nazis, is about remembering those grandparents, a day “to extend our love to them, to somehow express what we couldn’t when we were little.”

But this year, for President Vladimir V. Putin, May 9 means something very different. Monday’s commemoration will be a lavish government-orchestrated show of Russian might and a claim of rightful dominance over a lost empire — a day to galvanize public support for the war by slandering Ukraine as a successor to Nazi Germany.

Warplanes will fly over Moscow in a “Z” formation — the symbol of support for this year’s invasion — and airborne troops who fought recently in Ukraine will parade through Red Square in their armored personnel carriers. In the Baltic navy town of Baltiysk, the local organizers of the “Immortal Regiment” march — a solemn procession of people with portraits of their World War II veteran relatives, held across the country on May 9 — are having wounded marines back from Ukraine join in.

It is a potent political strategy in a country that celebrates May 9, Victory Day, as its most important secular holiday, one that appeals to the shared sacrifice of 27 million Soviets killed in World War II. But to many Russians, Mr. Putin’s long-running politicization of the day is an assault on their identity, distorting one of the few shared experiences uniting almost all Russian families and now using it to build support for a 21st-century war of aggression.

“They transformed this unifying myth that Russia had into a justification for an actual war,” said Maxim Trudolyubov, a Russian journalist who has written about the issue. “It’s kind of subtly turned everything upside down — a cult of victory into a cult of war.”Show moreAnushka PatilMay 8, 2022

Anushka Patil

In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Bono for “supporting our people” by performing with The Edge in a Kyiv subway station. The musicians’ band, U2, said on Twitter that they were invited to the country by Zelensky to show solidarity.Anushka PatilMay 8, 2022

Anushka Patil

“The main thing I felt today was the world’s even greater willingness to help us,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address, after a day in which he met virtually with G7 leaders and the American first lady, the prime minister of Canada and U2’s Bono all visited his country. “I am sure that this day in Ukraine has shown that we are already a full-fledged part of the free world and a united Europe.”May 8, 2022

Cassandra Vinograd

Canada will temporarily lift trade tariffs on Ukrainian imports for one year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office said in a statement on Sunday following his meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky during a visit to Ukraine. It said Trudeau also announced an additional $50 million in military assistance for Ukraine and imposed additional sanctions on Russian individuals and entities for providing indirect or direct support to Russia’s military.May 8, 2022

Cassandra Vinograd

The United Nations said that another 174 people evacuated from the Azovstal steel factory and other areas in Mariupol had arrived in Zaporizhzhia as part of a joint operation with the Red Cross, bringing the total number of people evacuated from the area to more than 600. “Our work, however, is not yet done,” the humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani, said in a statement.

Credit…Dimitar Dilkoff/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

May 8, 2022

Emma Bubola and Eduardo Medina

G7 nations pledge to ban or phase out Russian oil.

President Emmanuel Macron of France was among the G7 leaders meeting in a video-conference on Sunday.
President Emmanuel Macron of France was among the G7 leaders meeting in a video-conference on Sunday.Credit…Pool photo by Thibault Camus
President Emmanuel Macron of France was among the G7 leaders meeting in a video-conference on Sunday.

Leaders of the Group of 7 nations pledged during a virtual meeting on Sunday with President Volodymyr Zelensky to ban or phase out Russian oil, aiming to still further erode Russia’s economic standing as it pursues its invasion of Ukraine.

The group did not provide details but said in a statement that the plans would be enforced in a “timely and orderly fashion, and in ways that provide time for the world to secure alternative supplies.”

Oil bans are a two-edged sword. Oil is a top export for Russia, and Moscow would almost certainly sustain a big economic blow should it be banned, but parts of Europe are heavily dependent on its oil and thus are also vulnerable.

The United States, which imported a relatively small amount of energy resources from Russia, has already banned the import of Russian oil and gas.

The European Union, which gets about a quarter of its crude oil imports from Russia, has also announced plans for phasing out Russian oil, but is still in talks to formalize the decision. The bloc is too dependent on Russian gas to consider banning it in the short term, but has laid out plans to become progressively independent from it.

The G7 also said it would take steps to stop the provision of key services on which Russia depends and to toughen sanctions against the financial elites who support President Vladimir V. Putin, as well as their family members.

The White House also announced new sanctions on Sunday against three Russian state television outlets and said it would prohibit Americans from providing accounting or consulting services to anyone in Russia.

The Group of 7, which includes some of the world’s biggest economies, said that member nations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — would also continue to provide billions of dollars in military aid and intelligence to Ukraine, which has helped the country thwart Russian forces.

During the meeting Sunday, Mr. Zelensky pleaded Ukraine’s case with the world leaders, saying his ultimate goal was to force the full withdrawal of Russia’s army.

The G7, in its statement, said member nations had assured Mr. Zelensky of their “continued readiness to undertake further commitments to help Ukraine secure its free and democratic future.”

The call took place on the day the G7 leaders commemorate the end of the Second World War and as Russia prepared for its annual celebration of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

“We remain united in our resolve that President Putin must not win his war against Ukraine,” the G7 statement said. “We owe it to the memory of all those who fought for freedom in the Second World War.”

The actions of Mr. Putin, it said, “bring shame on Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people.”

Ahead of the call, the United Kingdom said it would offer an additional 1.3 billion pounds (about 1.6 billion dollars) in aid and military support to Ukraine. The new funding almost doubles the existing 1.5 billion pounds in support.Show more

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