MOSCOW: The Kremlin said today there will be no Victory Day celebrations in Ukraine’s Mariupol, a strategic port city that Russian troops claimed control of last month.
Victory Day — celebrated annually on May 9 — is a symbolic holiday in Russia marking the Soviet victory in World War II, accompanied by a grand military parade in Moscow and smaller events across Russian cities.
“A time will come and there will be a big celebration there,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that there were no plans for official visits on the day.
“There will certainly be Russians there, and there will be many Russians on May 9, but I don’t know about any official delegation,” Peksov said.
Russian troops besieged Mariupol for several weeks and hundreds are believed to have died in the southeastern Ukrainian city that was left without access to food, water or electricity.
Some Ukrainian soldiers and civilians remain holed up in the city’s huge Azovstal steel plant, sheltering in a Soviet-era network of underground tunnels.
The Russian army had announced a three-day ceasefire at the steelworks starting Thursday to allow civilians to leave but a Ukrainian commander said Moscow’s forces had violated that promise. — AFP