Putin’s parade exposed as journalists speak to ’embarrassed and ashamed’ crowd | World | News

The Russian President had appeared at the rally in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow earlier today (Friday), where he praised Russian “unity” over the invasion. However, BBC correspondent Will Vernon said many attendees were pressured in to going and did not want to be seen there.

According to the Moscow-based producer, many of those in attendance said they worked in the public sector and “had been pressured into attending by their employers”.

He said: “One group of teachers, from a town near Moscow, were being told what to say to us by a woman who appeared to be from the local administration.”

Another man, who worked for the Moscow metro, said that he and others had been “forced” to attend the pro-war rally.

The rail worker told reporters: “I’ll be here for a while and then I’ll leave […] I think most people here don’t support the war. I don’t.”

However, most people were said not to want to talk to the press, or be filmed.

Mr Vernon said some “would cover their faces or put up their hoods when we said we are journalists. Many seemed embarrassed or ashamed to be there.”

Students at the rally said that they had been given the day off from lectures if they attended “a concert”.

But some did not know that it was, in fact, a rally in support of Putin’s horrific invasion.

Mr Vernon said that there would have been at least a few people at the rally genuinely in support of the war.

Putin has faced public outcry in Russia for the unprovoked attack on a fellow Slavic people.

Since the invasion began in late February, thousands of people have been arrested daily across Russia for demonstrating against the war.

The Russian Government recently passed a new law effectively making it illegal to speak out against the invasion.

The Russian President justified his actions in Ukraine by repeating the claim that Ukraine had been committing genocide in the Russian-backed separatist Donbas region.

He commented: “This really was genocide. Stopping that was the goal of the special operation.”

Putin also claimed that Ukrainian civilians had welcomed the invading Russian forces – something which has been debunked by footage from within Ukraine showing civilians taking up arms against the enemy troops. 

However, his televised speech was cut short by what the Kremlin have described as a technical glitch.

It abruptly began broadcasting patriotic songs being played at the event instead.

Despite the claims that many were forced to attend the event, some employees at the state-run oil giant Rosneft refused to go as it appeared to be an endorsement of the war.

Speaking to Reuters, one employee said: “We understand that it would be in support of the war and everybody in the office understands this.

“No way can we support a war.”

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