Moscow : Russian President Vladimir Putin justified the invasion of Ukraine at a rally in Moscow where his speech was abruptly cut off on the state TV broadcast in what the Kremlin described as a technical error. Tens of thousands of people waved the Russian flag at the national stadium as they took part in celebrations commemorating the eighth year of Russia’s annexation of Crimea — which is deemed illegal by the Ukrainian government and not recognized in the West, reports CNN. Speaking from a stage in front of a banner that read, “For a world without Nazism,” Putin said Russia “will definitely implement all our plans” in Ukraine. “To spare people from this suffering, from this genocide — this is the main reason, motive and purpose of the military operation that we launched in the Donbas (an eastern Ukrainian region) and Ukraine,” he said on Friday. Russian state TV later replayed Putin’s full speech without problems, but the Kremlin refused to confirm or deny if the event was live or pre-recorded. Putin insisted that national unity was the strongest in a long time even as many people flee Russia or protest against war in the streets, and as the country is increasingly isolated on the global stage. “The best proof is the way our boys are fighting in this operation: shoulder to shoulder, supporting each other, and if need be, protecting each other like brothers, shielding one another with their bodies on the battlefield. We haven’t had this unity for a long time,” Putin told the crowd. State workers were told by authorities to attend the celebrations. In an invitation given out to teachers in one of Moscow’s state schools and obtained by CNN, attendees were told they would have Russian flags and should put white “Z” marks on their clothing, a pro-war symbol seen daubed on the country’s military vehicles in Ukraine. The hour-and-a-half event featured live music and speeches from high-profile supporters, including RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. The rally comes at a tense moment for Russia, as its military struggles to capture key cities like Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and Western officials estimates the country’s troop losses are in the thousands.