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Sunny day in Moscow

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has not moved as swiftly as the Kremlin once predicted, but a recent visit by a group of military students to a Moscow park has made it seem like it’s moving much faster.

In early May, a sudden snowstorm hit, and the instructors led the young soldiers to move quickly, hoping to find a warm place as soon as possible. But they still took time to stop and take pictures before displaying captured enemy weapons.

The biggest trophies were the M1 Abrams and Panther tanks, much-vaunted American and German-made war machines that Ukraine had hoped would help it turn its fortunes around on the battlefield.

They haven’t yet.

Now, after two years of war, the Kremlin’s early military missteps in Ukraine are gradually being forgotten and the mood in Russia is increasingly optimistic.

“The word ‘victory’ is being said all over Moscow these days,” said Valerie Hopkins, a New York Times correspondent in Russia. Recent Reports.

The students’ visit came three days before Russia celebrates Victory Day, commemorating the defeat of the Nazis in World War II. But like other Russians braving the cold, they were celebrating the country’s recent military success.

Victory Park was originally built to commemorate Russia’s victory over Napoleon, and it also displays military equipment from World War II.

However, the biggest attraction for the students during their visit was the NATO tanks captured in Ukraine. Many of the tanks, including the Abrams, were captured in February when the long-time Ukrainian military stronghold of Avdiivka was reclaimed. Falling into Russian hands.

“People talk so much about these Abrams tanks, these Leopard tanks,” exclaimed one onlooker as he saw these Western behemoths sitting quietly in the Russian snow.

“They’re all standing here,” he said. “We’re watching them.”

The author is Eric Nagourney.

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