Conflicts & War

Putin praises Russian national ‘unity’ at massive Moscow rally

Moscow, Feb 22 (EFE).- Russian president Vladimir Putin on Wednesday appealed to Russians’ sense of unity and national pride during a speech at a huge rally in Moscow.

“When we are together, there is no one like us. Our strength is in unity,” Putin said during a short speech to the crowd gathered at Luzhniki stadium, the day before Russia marks Defender of the Fatherland Day which celebrates the country’s armed forces.

“Russian fighters are fighting heroically and bravely. Russia is proud of them,” the Russian president said, adding that the nation’s forces were fighting on Russia’s “historical borders”.

In a show of support for Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, some 200,000 people were reportedly attending the fervently patriotic rally and concert in Moscow, which is being held on the eve of the first anniversary of the start of the invasion on February 24.

The official capacity for the stadium, the largest in Russia and venue for the 2018 FIFA World Cup final, is just 80,000.

In addition to the main stage, where Putin delivered his speech from, several others were set up in the stadium featuring Russian musicians and artists supporting the Ukraine campaign.

Before the start of the rally, the Moscow City Hall blocked traffic on several roads around the stadium, diverted public transport routes and prohibited parking in the vicinity.

According to EFE, security in the city was reinforced with additional police units standing guard at the main metro stations and other sites.

Some social media users published images showing people leaving the stadium with the concert in full swing due to the low temperatures in the Russian capital, where this morning the thermometers dropped to 17 degrees below zero.EFE


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