RUSSIA’S V-DAY COMES WITHOUT VICTORY: Moscow’s Red Square was filled today with the usual pomp despite the circumstances in Ukraine, where Russian troops remain mired in the deadly ebb and flow of artillery battles in the eastern Donbas region that Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to the territory of Ukraine under his control.

In his short speech marking Victory Day, which commemorates the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, a defiant Putin accused NATO and the West of “preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea,” and said he had no choice but to launch his “special military operartion” to defend “the motherland” from “the revival of Nazism.”

“In Kyiv they were talking about the possible acquisition of nuclear weapons — the NATO block started actively developing territories adjacent to us and therefore, in a planned way, were creating an absolutely unacceptable threat immediately next to our borders,” Putin said. “Russia repelled this aggression in a timely way. It was the only correct decision.”

Putin stopped short of declaring a wider war on Ukraine, nor did he declare victory in the Donbas region where Ukrainian troops continue to mount counterattacks, and notably, the air show that usually accompanies the massive military parade was canceled ostensibly due to weather, though the skies over Moscow had only scattered clouds.


ZELENSKY’S RESPONSE: In a counterpoint to Russia’s showy display of military might, with its columns of troops in full-dress uniform goose-stepping in Red Square, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky released a video featuring him strolling down the middle of an empty Kyiv street, dressed in olive drab, with rolled up shirtsleeves, while addressing the camera with a steely resolve.

“On the Day of Victory over Nazism, we are fighting for a new victory. The road to it is difficult, but we have no doubt that we will win,” Zelensky said in his walk-and-talk address. “There are no shackles that can bind our free spirit. There is no occupier who can take root in our free land. There is no invader who can rule over our free people. Sooner or later we win.”

Over the weekend, the last civilians were successfully evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, leaving only Ukrainian troops holed up in the sprawling facility’s maze of underground tunnels.

In a Zoom news conference from inside the complex, the remaining troops, thought to number more than 1,000, vowed to fight to the death. “We will always fight, as long as we are alive, for justice,” said Capt. Sviatoslav Palamar, a deputy commander, according to the Washington Post.


JILL BIDEN, TRUDEAU LATEST TO SHOW UP IN UKRAINE: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toured the town of Irpin outside Kyiv, during an unannounced visit to the Ukrainian capital yesterday, and said Canada would be sending more weapons and supplies to Ukraine while sanctioning additional Russian officials.

“I'm announcing more military assistance, drone cameras, satellite imagery, small arms, ammunition and other support, including funding for demining operations," Trudeau said.

Canada’s foreign minister, Melanie Joly, and Chrystia Freeland, the deputy prime minister, accompanied Trudeau on the war zone visit.

Also on Sunday, first lady Jill Biden popped up in western Ukraine to call on Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska.

Biden had been visiting Slovakia when she slipped across the border Sunday and met privately with Zelenska on Mother’s Day at a school that is being used as temporary housing for displaced Ukrainians.

“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” Biden said. “I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop, and this war has been brutal, and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”


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HAPPENING TODAY: President Joe Biden will mark Russia’s Victory Day by signing into law S. 3522, the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, a bill modeled on World War II-era legislation that will streamline the process for sending U.S. arms to Ukraine.

The signing ceremony is scheduled to take place in the Oval Office at 2:45 p.m.


GRAHAM: ‘WE NEED TO TRIPLE DOWN’: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is backing quick passage of Biden’s proposed $33 billion aid package for Ukraine, arguing that if Putin is going to double down in his land-grab in Ukraine, the U.S. needs to “triple down” to ensure his defeat.

“We need to triple down on our willingness to help the Ukraine. We need to pass a $33 billion supplemental package, $20 billion for weapons. We need to work with the International Criminal Court to gather evidence to prosecute Putin personally,” Graham said in an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “There is no off-ramp in this war. Somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose … Let me tell you why there's no off-ramp. The Ukrainians are not going to give the east to Putin to stop the war. They're going to fight for every inch of their territory.”

“Putin must go,” Graham told Fox’s Bret Baier. “If Putin is still standing after all this, then the world is going to be a very dark place. China is going to get the wrong signal, and we'll have a mess on our hands in Europe for decades to come.”

“Here's what I think will happen: If we stick with Ukraine, they're not going to give up. Over time, the Russian people will turn on Putin. This war is a disaster,” he said. “If we don't get this right, China will certainly invade Taiwan.”

“If Putin wins, then Taiwan is probably going to be invaded by China. But if Putin loses, then I think that's a great day for Europe, a great day for the United States.”


BURNS: PUTIN’S ON DEATH GROUND: In an interview Saturday at an event sponsored by the Financial Times, CIA Director William Burns described Putin as desperate and, while he didn’t use the words of Sun Tzu, as fighting on what the ancient Chinese general called “death ground,” in a position from which there is no retreat.

“I think he’s in a frame of mind in which he doesn’t believe he can afford to lose,” Burns said. “I think he’s convinced right now that doubling down still will enable him to make progress.“

In the interview, Burns said all the loose talk about the U.S. providing the Ukrainians with specific intelligence allowing them to sink Russian ships and kill Russian generals is “irresponsible.”

“It’s very risky, it’s dangerous when people talk too much, whether it’s leaking in private or talking in public about specific intelligence issues,” Burns told the FT. “The only thing I would say is it’s a big mistake to underestimate the significant intelligence capabilities that the Ukrainians themselves have. This is their country. They have a lot more information than we do and a lot more intelligence than we in the United States and amongst our allies do.“


ESPER ON UKRAINE: In his CBS 60 Minutes interview promoting his book A Sacred Oath, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper predicted that Putin will push to take the Donbas and then quit and declare victory.

“If I were a betting man today, I'd say that is what he will do,” Esper told CBS’s Norah O'Donnell. “He'll at least secure all of Donbas, declare that he's liberated the Russian-speaking peoples of that region, and declare victory. And that will become another frozen conflict.”

ESPER ON TRUMP: Much of the broadcast interview, and the extended segments posted online, focused on Esper’s harsh criticism of President Donald Trump, who fired Esper shortly after the 2020 election for failing to support his policies.

Esper said he knew he was always on the verge of being canned but didn’t quit because he thought whoever replaced him would have no inclination to curb Trump’s worst instincts. “If I spoke out at the time, I would be fired, number one. And secondly, I had no confidence that anybody that came in behind me would not be a real Trump loyalist. And Lord knows what would've happened then.”

Esper recounted a number of times when he thought Trump was dangerously unaware of the consequences of actions he wanted to take.

“The president pulls me aside on at least a couple of occasions and suggests that maybe we have the U.S. military shoot missiles into Mexico … to go after the cartels,” Esper said. “We would have this private discussion where I'd say, ‘Mr. President, I understand the motive,’ but I had to explain to him, ‘We can't do that. It would violate international law. It would be terrible for our neighbors to the south.’”

Esper called Trump’s belief that a missile strike could be denied and no one would know the U.S. carried it out “fanciful.”

“Shocking” was the word Esper used to describe Trump’s tirade at a June 1, 2020, meeting in which he berated his advisers as “f’ing losers,” and was on the verge of ordering 10,000 active-duty troops into the streets of Washington to shoot protesters.

“He says, ‘Can't you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something.’ And he's suggesting that that's what we should do, that we should bring in the troops and shoot the protesters.”


TRUMP’S VERY TRUMPIAN RESPONSE: In a written response to CBS, Trump would not comment on the Mexican missile story, but he had this to say about Esper’s account that he suggested shooting protesters:

“This is a complete lie, and 10 witnesses can back it up. Mark Esper was weak and totally ineffective, and because of it, I had to run the military. I took out ISIS, Qasem Soleimani, al Baghdadi, rebuilt the military with $2.5 trillion, created Space Force, and so much more,” Trump said. “Mark Esper was a stiff who was desperate not to lose his job. He would do anything I wanted, that's why I called him ‘Yesper.’ He was a lightweight and figurehead, and I realized it very early on. He was recommended to me by some very weak RINOs and that is what he turned out to be.”


INDUSTRY WATCH: LOCKEED MARTIN SAYS COULD TAKES YEARS TO RAMP UP JAVELIN PRODUCTION: In an appearance on Face the Nation Sunday, Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet said his company, which along with Raytheon makes the Javelin anti-tank missile, is gearing up to double production, but it’s going to take some time.

“So, right now our capacity is 2,100 Javelin missiles per year. We’re endeavoring to take that up to 4,000 per year,” Taiclet told CBS’s Margaret Brennan. “And that will take a number of months, maybe even a couple of years to get there because we have to get our supply chain to also crank up as we do.”

Taiclet was speaking after Biden toured the company’s manufacturing facility in Troy, Alabama, last week, where the Javelin and other weapons are made.

The war in Ukraine, Taiclet said, has underscored how pivotal weapons such as the Javelin and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles can be in modern warfare, and he expects demand to increase worldwide.

“We`re planning for the long run, and not just in the Javelin, because this situation, the Ukrainian conflict, has highlighted a couple of really important things for us,” he said. “One is that we need to have superior systems in large enough numbers. So like Javelins, Stingers, advanced cruise missiles, equipment like that. So, we know there’s going to be increased demand for those kinds of systems from the U.S.”


The Rundown

Washington Examiner: Putin justifies invasion, does not declare victory or call for escalation at V-Day parade

Washington Examiner: WATCH: Graham says there is 'no off-ramp’ in war, ‘Let’s take out Putin’

Washington Examiner: US diplomats return to Ukrainian capital for first time since invasion

Washington Examiner: Over 200 Ukrainian soldiers have completed howitzer training: Pentagon

Washington Examiner: Biden to sign Ukraine bill on Russia’s Victory Day

Washington Examiner: Biden announces additional raft of military aid to Ukraine

Washington Examiner: Pentagon moves $1.4 billion to replenish stocks reduced by war in Ukraine

Washington Examiner: Russian bomb rips through school in Ukraine, kills at least 60: Ukrainian officials

Washington Examiner: Mine-sniffing dog 'Patron' barks at Trudeau as Zelensky awards him medal

Washington Examiner: NORTHCOM and DHS planned to deploy 'a couple hundred thousand plus' troops to border: Esper

Washington Examiner: Trump blamed Esper for blocking use of Insurrection Act to stop George Floyd protests: Book

Washington Examiner: Opinion: Victory Day or vanquished day in Moscow?

Washington Post: G-7 leaders vow to phase out Russian oil; Jill Biden visits Ukraine

Washington Post: Ukraine is rebuilding cities as fast as Russia destroyed them

New York Times: Russia Destroys Bridges After Ukrainians Force Retreat From Kharkiv

Defense News: Pentagon Reviewing Hundreds Of Industry Proposals In Effort To Rapidly Arm Ukraine

New York Times: U.S. Urging Taiwan To Buy Arms Better Suited To Defend Against China

Seapower Magazine: CNO Updates Professional Reading Program Putin Has Failed - Russia Has Truly Lost the War in Ukraine Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Is Transforming Europe



8 a.m. — Asia Society online event with former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to discuss the "challenges facing President Xi Jinping during the most important and politically sensitive year of the Chinese leader's decade-long tenure." Livestream at

12 p.m. — Hudson Institute virtual discussion: “Defense Transformation in Japan? Examining the LDP's (Liberal Democratic Party) Recommendations,” Japanese House of Representatives Member Itsunori Onodera, former Japanese Defense minister; former Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahisa Sato; former Japanese Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita; and Kenneth Weinstein, fellow at the Hudson Institute

1 p.m. — Woodrow Wilson Center virtual discussion: “Victory Day Celebrations During Russia's War of Aggression,” with Ivan Kurilla, history professor at the University of St. Petersburg; Alexandra Arkhipova, senior research fellow at the University of Bremen's Center for Eastern Europe; Maxim Trudolyubov, editor-at-large at Meduza; and Izabella Tabarovsky, WWC senior program associate

2 p.m. 214 Massachusetts Ave. N.E. — Heritage Foundation discussion: “The National Guard's State Partnership Program and Its Role in the National Defense Strategy,” with Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau

3:30 p.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies and Vrije University's Center for Security, Diplomacy, and Strategy virtual discussion: “United States, Europe, and Japan: Trilateral Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” with Yuichi Hosoya, professor of international politics at the University of Keio; Eva Pejsova, senior Japan fellow at CSDS; and Luis Simon, director at CSDS


TBA — President Joe Biden welcomes Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi to the White House

9 a.m. 901 17th St. N.W. — American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security breakfast program: “In Ukraine, There are No Quick Fixes,” with John Erath, former member of the National Security Council and current senior policy director for the nonprofit Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Register with Jennifer Kildee

10 a.m. — Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing: “President’s Fiscal Year 2023 funding request and budget justification for the Army,” with Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville

10 a.m. — Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual Schriever Spacepower Forum on the current state of the U.S. Space Force, U.S. Space Command and "what will be needed to ensure the U.S. is able to achieve and sustain space superiority in an era of great power competition,” with Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.

10 a.m. — Foreign Policy virtual discussion: “The American War in Afghanistan,” with Carter Malkasian, former special assistant for strategy to the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Janine di Giovanni, senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs; and Janice Stein, professor of conflict management at the University of Toronto

11 a.m. — Center for the National Interest Zoom webinar: “Does Nuclear War Loom With Russia?” with Dimitri Simes, CNI president and CEO, who recently returned from a two-week visit to Moscow

3 p.m. 1789 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. — American Enterprise Institute in-person event: “The Future of U.S. National Security Policy,” with Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc; and Colin Dueck, nonresident senior fellow, AEI

3 p.m. — Woodrow Wilson Center Kennan Institute virtual discussion: “ Lifting the Fog of War in Ukraine,” with Jamie Fly, president and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (REF/RL); Mark Green, WWC president, director and CEO; Abraham Denmark, vice president of programs/director of studies, senior adviser to the WWC Asia Program and senior fellow in the WWC Institute on China and the United States; Patrick Boehler, head of digital strategy for RFE/RL; and Natalie Sedletskam, host and executive producer of Schemes: Corruption in Details RFE/RL Ukrainian Service


9 a.m. 2301 Constitution Ave. N.W. — U.S. Institute of Peace discussion: “Previewing the U.S.-ASEAN Summit What to Expect from the Special Meeting of ASEAN and U.S. Leaders,” with Kurt Campbell, coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs at the National Security Council; Lise Grande, USIP President and CEO; and Evan Medeiros, USIP special adviser

10 a.m. — Hudson Institute virtual event: “NATO and Russia’s War on Ukraine: A Conversation with NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana; and Kenneth Weinstein, distinguished fellow, Hudson Institute

3 p.m. — Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual discussion: “Space National Guard,” with Brig. Gen. Michael Valle, assistant adjutant general at the Florida Air National Guard; and Brig. Gen. Steven Butow, primary adviser to the adjutant general at the California Air National Guard


TBA — President Joe Biden welcomes leaders of ASEAN countries and the ASEAN Secretary-General to the White House for a dinner as part of the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit, commemorating 45 years of U.S.-ASEAN relations


TBA — President Joe Biden participates in the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit at the State Department

10 a.m. — Hudson Institute virtual event: “Dialogues on American Foreign Policy and World Affairs” with Robert Kagan, senior fellow, Project on International Order and Strategy, Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution, contributing columnist at the Washington Post; and Walter Russell Mead, distinguished fellow, Hudson Institute


German Federal Foreign Office — Informal meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs, May 14-15, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.


9 a.m. — Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies Schriever Spacepower Forum with Lt. Gen.  Stephen Whiting, commander of Space Operations Command


2 a.m. (8 a.m. CET) — Brussels, Belgium meeting of the NATO Military Chiefs of Defense with opening remarks by Dutch Adm. Rob Bauer, chair of the NATO Military Committee, followed by a press conference with Bauer at 12:25 p.m Washington time.


President Joe Biden travels to South Korea and Japan for bilateral meetings with his counterparts: newly-elected President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan. In Tokyo, Biden will also meet with the leaders of the Quad grouping of Australia, Japan, India, and the U.S.


“I think based on his actions Jan. 6, you can’t come to any other conclusion. I think he was trying to overturn the results of a legitimately certified election and the peaceful transfer of power. Both of which are hallmarks of democracy.”

Former Trump Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s response when as if Trump is a threat to democracy.