Russia adds Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to wanted list

Russian state media reported Saturday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been put on Russia's wanted list, along with his predecessor Petro Poroshenko and Gen. Oleksandr Pavlyuk, the commander of Ukraine's ground forces. The allegations against these individuals have not been clarified by Russian officials, and media reports suggest they have been on the wanted list since at least late February.

Ukraine's foreign ministry has dismissed the reports of Zelenskyy's inclusion as evidence of "the desperation of the Russian state machine and propaganda." The list also includes officials and lawmakers from Ukraine and NATO countries, such as Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who has advocated for increased military aid to Kyiv and stronger sanctions against Moscow.

Russia has laws criminalizing the "rehabilitation of Nazism" and has charged individuals with "terrorist" activities, including Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian infrastructure. The Kremlin has repeatedly sought to link Ukraine's leaders to Nazism, despite the country having a democratically elected Jewish president.

The claim of "de-Nazification" has been used by Russia to legitimize its military operation in Ukraine, with officials insisting on the need for a neutral status for the country. The role of World War II and the Soviet Union's sacrifices during the war are central to Russia's national identity, with any questioning of the USSR's role being met with resistance.

Historians have noted Russia's attempt to retool historical truths from the war, emphasizing the Soviet role in defeating the Nazis while downplaying allegations of collaboration and crimes committed by Red Army soldiers. This narrative has been used by President Vladimir Putin to justify Russia's actions in Ukraine, despite criticism from Kyiv and Western allies.


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