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No Ukraine flags in sight at Donetsk Victory Day parade

A Victory Day parade celebrating the Soviet victory in World War Two is being held in Donetsk, Ukraine, but Ukrainian flags are nowhere to be seen.

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates has tweeted from Donetsk, Ukraine:


The one flag nowhere to be seen in #Donetsk is #ukraine flag, though Ukrainian national anthem heard with respect


Formal Victory Day ceremony over in #donetsk, separatist grabs mic to shout 'Glory to Russia'.


Pictures: Vladimir Putin attends Victory Day parade in Moscow

Vladimir Putin attends Victory Day parade in Moscow

A huge Victory Day parade has been held in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin praising the "iron will of the Soviet people," which saved Europe from slavery.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu salutes during the parade. Credit: REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

The military ceremony is held to mark the Soviet victory in World War Two and comes as tensions continue to rise in Ukraine with Russian nationalism high after the annexation of Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shares a joke with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Credit: REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

Putin may fly to the city of Sevastopol in Crimea today to take part in the planned Victory Day parade, according to Russian media.

Russian cannons at the Kremlin wall are fired during a Victory Day parade in Red Square. Credit: AP Photo/Denis Tyrin

Read: Donetsk separatists vote to press ahead with referendum


Putin: Kiev provoked bloodshed in Odessa

The Kiev authorities and their Western backers are directly responsible for the bloodshed in the Ukrainian city of Odessa, where at least 38 people have been killed, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said.

Kiev and its Western sponsors are practically provoking the bloodshed and bear direct responsibility for it.

– Vladimir Putin's Spokesman Dmitry Peskov

He added that yesterday's violence made the idea of holding presidential elections in Ukraine later this month "absurd".

Read: OSCE observers held hostage by separatists in Ukraine released

Putin warns of reviewing Western energy firm deals

Vladimir Putin has said Russia could reconsider the participation of Western companies in its economy, including energy projects, if sanctions continued.

We would very much wish not to resort to any measures in response.

But if something like that continues, we will of course have to think about who is working in the key sectors of the Russian economy, including the energy sector, and how.

– Russian President Vladimir Putin

The United States on Monday announced a new round of sanctions aimed at business leaders and companies close to Putin, while the European Union followed up on Tuesday by naming 15 Russians and Ukrainians to its blacklist, moving to freeze assets and deny visas.

Ex German Chancellor pictured embracing Putin

Once one of the most prominent European leaders, Germany's former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, is facing heavy criticism after photographs showing the retired leader in a warm embrace with Russian President Vladimir Putin emerged.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Credit: Reuters

The German government and media distanced themselves from the ex Chancellor.

Der Spiegel, a national magazine, published the photographs along with a commentary that said: "Schroeder celebrates his birthday with Putin and makes Germany's foreign policy look absurd."

Mr Schroeder's office had no comment on the pictures, which according to the media reports were taken on Monday evening outside the Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg where he was attending a belated celebration of his 70th birthday.

Read: EU expands Russia sanctions amid Ukraine crisis

Vladimir Putin says the internet is a 'CIA project'

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Ukraine against using the army on its own population Credit: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has derided the internet as a Central Intelligence Agency project and has pledged to protect Russia's interests online.

According to the Associated Press, Putin mocked the World Wide Web at a media forum in St. Petersburg, claiming that it was "originally a CIA project" and is "still developing as such".

The Kremlin has long sought greater controls over the internet as many opposition activists, who are banned from state media, use the medium to promote their views and organise protests.

Read: Russia blocks Ukraine protest websites


Putin: US-Russian 'reset' was over before Crimea

The much-vaunted 'reset' in relations between the US and Russia was already over before the crisis in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has said.

The Russian President said the conflict in Libya had already soured relations between the two powers but he insisted Russia would do "everything possible" to restore trust.

Read: Putin: 'God knows' why Donetsk is part of Ukraine

Putin: 'God knows' why Donetsk is part of Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has expressed disbelief that areas of eastern Ukraine were ever ceded from Russia.

Mr Putin said Russian-speaking cities such as Donetsk and Kharkiv were historically part of 'Novorossiya' [New Russia] during the Tsarist era and "God knows" why they became part of Ukraine.

The area in question was transferred to Ukraine during the Soviet era.

Read: Foreign ministers to meet in Geneva for Ukraine crisis talks

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