William Katz:  Urgent Agenda








PUTIN SPEAKS – OVERNIGHT:  Ignore the date at the top.  It's now 4:32 a.m. ET on the morning of May 9th.  I've been following CNN's coverage of the Victory Day ceremonies in Moscow, commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.  We have anticipated this day, one of the most important on the Russian calendar, to see if President Putin uses it to announce some new policy involving Ukraine.

Putin has just spoken.  His speech was filled with complaints about the West, and presented Russia as a victim of Western intrigue.  He promised defiance, defended Russian action in Ukraine, but gave no hint of any chance in policy.  From Fox:  

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the West in his Victory Day speech Monday at the Kremlin, claiming that the U.S. and other countries had propped up a "threat" on Russia's borders and had even supported threats of nuclear war against his country.

"Russia has always stood up for an international system of equality," Putin said, according to a translation from the German outlet Deutsche-Welle. "We have always tried to find compromise solutions… Other countries had completely different plans."

"They have tried to attack our historical territories like the Crimea. They have threatened to use nuclear war, and the West has supported these military actions carried out in our neighborhood and that is why it was a threat we couldn't accept," the Russian president added. He claimed there was a "threat to our border."

"We have seen the military infrastructure developed," Putin claimed, mentioning "more and more international military advisors coming into the country. The country was provided with modern weapons. There was a threat that was growing day by day."

Putin condemned the U.S. by name. "The United States of America, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union,… has humiliated not only the whole world, but also their satellite states."

"They have tried to denigrate the memory of the Second World War," he charged.

Some chest-thumping, but, so far, nothing unusual.  Of course, that could change if Putin makes another statement later today.  But he did not announce a declaration of war against Ukraine, and he did not threaten to use nuclear weapons.  Nor did he announce a ceasefire or any new negotiations.  We are left in the dark.

May 8, 2022