Russian State TV Says Invading Ukraine 'Far From Our Main Objective'

A Russian television anchor said that World War II celebrations across Russia demonstrated the support Vladimir Putin has for his invasion of Ukraine and raised the specter of the Kremlin stepping up its campaign.

Vladimir Solovyov told viewers that there was a "never ending stream of people'' who participated in the May 9 Victory Day celebrations marking the Soviet war effort, including "12 million or more across the whole country."

"It was such a mandate for the supreme commander-in-chief," he said on state-owned Russia 1, which is a key outlet that promotes the Kremlin's messaging about the war.

"It was such an unequivocal expression of the people's position, that the Nazi scum, wherever it rears its head needs to be crushed," Solovyov added, referring to the Russia's repeated justification for its invasion of Ukraine to "denazify" its neighbor, which is rejected globally.

The host of Vecher suggested that the May 9 celebrations were a testament to what Russians were prepared to endure for the sake of Putin's war.

"I saw so much military kit on display at parades in all kinds of cities and so many servicemen who were marching in the parades that it's clear that if the decision is taken and we move from a special military operation to a turbo military operation, we will be able to achieve the objectives."

"The ones being set are being achieved anyway," he said on Wednesday in comments reported by BBC Monitoring, "but we'll be able to achieve the most ambitious ones."

Solovyov rejected speculation that Putin might declare martial law and said there was no need for the widespread mobilization of the population.

"There is an incredible number of volunteers, they just need to be told where to turn up," he said. "The people are ready, if we simply call on our volunteers."

Speaking in Moscow on Monday, Putin drew parallels between the Red Army's fight against Nazi troops and the Russian forces' action in Ukraine, but he gave no indication that he would declare a broad mobilization, as some had feared.

"Let me remind you that Ukraine is far from our main objective," Solovyov said, before reiterating the Kremlin line that Russia was focused on the "liberation" of the Donbas as well as the "demilitarization and denazification" of Russia's neighbor.

"The objective of our confrontation was formulated on 15 December—it's Russia's security strategy," he said.

With tensions high due to its build-up of troops along its border with Ukraine, Russia released draft treaties in the middle of December to form the basis of talks with the U.S. and NATO. The proposals sought to push back on a Western military presence near Russia and in the former Soviet sphere of influence.

Victory Day Parade
Russian troops march during the Victory Day Parade at Red Square on May 9, 2022, in Moscow, Russia. Russian anchor Vladimir Solovyov said that the public turnout for the WW2 celebrations showed that Russians were prepared if Vladimir Putin stepped up his war in Ukraine. Getty Images