May 8, 2022
I had not intended to write tonight despite some huge news dumps this weekend, but there are two time-sensitive stories to note.
First, today First Lady Jill Biden celebrated Mother’s Day with an unannounced visit to western Ukraine, where she visited Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska at a school currently being used to house internally displaced Ukrainians. Before going to Ukraine, Biden visited displaced Ukrainian mothers and children in Romania and Slovakia, telling them that she wanted to come to “say the hearts of the American people are with the mothers of Ukraine.” On her Facebook page, Biden posted: “On this Mother’s Day, my heart is with you, First Lady Olena Zelenska, and all of the brave and resilient mothers of Ukraine.”
And also today, in honor of the 77th anniversary of V-E Day, the day of Allied victory in Europe in 1945, the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7), along with Ukraine and “the wider global community,” issued a statement commemorating the end of World War II in Europe and the liberation from fascism and the Nazis’ “reign of terror, which caused immeasurable destruction, unspeakable horrors and human suffering.”
The statement went on to distinguish between the brave soldiers of the Soviet Union, who joined with the Allies to defeat the Nazis, and current Russian president Vladimir Putin. Seventy-seven years after the Soviets joined Europe and the allies to win WWII, Putin and his regime have chosen “to invade Ukraine in an unprovoked war of aggression against a sovereign country,” the statement said. “His actions bring shame on Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people.”
Most of the Allies honor V-E Day on May 8, the day in 1945 that jubilant celebrations broke out as news spread of the Nazis’ unconditional surrender in Reims, France, on May 7, 1945. The Russians celebrate victory over the Nazis on May 9, for by the time the Germans surrendered to the Soviets in Berlin, the different time zones meant it was already May 9 in Moscow.
May 9 is a national holiday in Russia, marked with parades and honoring of relatives who fought in the war. There have been hints that Putin intends to use that symbolic day to shift in some fashion his war in Ukraine.
I’ll leave it there for tonight.
It looks like it’s going to be a busy week.