Vladimir Putin will not triumph against Ukraine, just as Adolf Hitler's Nazis were defeated by free world – Angus Robertson MSP

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While Europe Day was marked across the continent, Russian President Vladimir Putin rolled his tanks through Red Square.

Rather than celebrate the defeat of fascism, it did more to remind the world that it is Russia that is waging an aggressive war of conquest in Ukraine.

Europe Day is supposed to mark collaboration, shared economic prosperity and peace. Seventy-two years since the Schuman Declaration, which proposed the creation of what became the European Union, our continent finds itself once more enduring needless bloodshed.

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And once more, it is inflicted upon us by a dictator who is driven by unhinged hopes of domination and an exaggerated understanding of his capability.

The war has, and will continue to, demand huge resources and dedication to defeating Russian aggression and establishing a lasting peace, which was gained with the sacrifice of many millions of people in the first half of the 20th century.

Yet we often talk of the sacrifice of those who fought to defeat Hitler in a symbolic and intangible way. Of course, we know and live in the peace that those defeating Nazism created. But the understanding of the personal sacrifice can be difficult to fathom.

Not this year. Now the world sees the deaths of the innocent and helpless, the deaths of those who resist and the deaths of those who gave their all to vanquish Russian aggression and, with horrifying clarity, we see the real cost of peace.

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So, it is more important than ever that we commemorate Europe Day with a renewed commitment to peaceful relations with our neighbours. This is happening across the continent.

Russian armoured vehicles parade through Moscow's Red Square during the Victory Day parade on May 9 (Picture: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images)Russian armoured vehicles parade through Moscow's Red Square during the Victory Day parade on May 9 (Picture: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian armoured vehicles parade through Moscow's Red Square during the Victory Day parade on May 9 (Picture: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images)
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In Red Square, 11,000 soldiers marched under the guise of commemorating the defeat of a dictator. Yet their celebrations were entirely disingenuous. The parade was nothing other than a demonstration of militarism and a manifestation of Putin’s own delusions of grandeur.

While it may have seemed a show of strength against the backdrop of the Kremlin, in Ukraine, 25,000 dead Russian soldiers are the real testament to Putin’s priorities, his values and his power – or lack thereof.

As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said about Putin’s invasion in his May 9 celebration speech: “This is not a war of two armies, it is a war of two worldviews.”

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Zelensky and the Ukrainian people today are the central defenders of European values of peace, prosperity and the mutual commitment to share the challenges of the day.

In solidarity, we must renew our own commitment to these values.

In Scotland, I am proud to see citizens beginning to welcome Ukrainian refugees into their homes and I know many more have volunteered to do the same. Scots have given financial support to those in need as well as food and clothing donations by the ton.

Our support for Ukraine must continue and we cannot be defeated by images of relentless bombardment because, as President Zelensky said: "Sooner or later we will win… We will win because this is our land. Because we are fighting for the homeland… For our freedom, for our independence. So that the victory of our ancestors will not be in vain. They fought for freedom for us and won. We are fighting for the freedom of our children and therefore we will win.”

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary

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