Russian strongman Vladimir Putin spent Saturday opening a new Ferris wheel in Moscow.
Putin joined Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin via video conference for the ceremony, Russian state media reported.
“It’s a unique [construction], 140 meters high. There is nothing like it in Europe,” Putin said. “It is very important that people have the opportunity to relax with family and friends.”
Russian state media reported: “At a total height of 140 meters, the open rotating observation wheel of the VDNKh is the highest in Europe. Mounted on the wheel are 30 cabins, and one in six has a transparent floor. Air conditioning, lighting and heating as well as an emergency button and an audio system are installed in the cabins. A full rotation of the Moscow Sun takes about 18 minutes 40 seconds, with a capacity of up to 450 passengers.
Meanwhile, Russia’s hold on northeastern Ukraine was collapsing with the loss of a key supply line.
Politico’s Christopher Miller reported it’s “absolutely stunning how quickly Ukrainian forces recaptured territory to the east and forced Russian troops to retreat – and they are still on the move. Great victory for Kyiv and a humiliating blow for Russia and Putin – but at least he opened that Ferris wheel in Moscow today.”
BBC’s Steve Rosenberg wrote“On the day that Russian forces withdrew from occupied areas of the Kharkiv region and Ukrainian forces reported significant gains, back in Moscow, Vladimir Putin was inaugurating a giant Ferris wheel and there were fireworks to celebrate City Day. Surreal.”
Chris Megerian, Associated Press White House correspondent wrote“I’m trying to imagine the political backlash of an American president opening up a new arena while the American military retreats.”
Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Nations, explained how he sees symbolism.
“The big wheel symbolizes the wheel of change and the idea that you can’t get rid of it. It dates back to the Middle Ages,” he added. wrote. “We, like at Putin, we go around until the end of the journey [he dies] and is disgorged in the spirit world, as in hell. By the Russian obsession with symbolism. Well done! Great time!”