Russia holds military parade to mark WWII victory

Huang Panyue
Russian servicemen march across the Red Square during the V-Day parade in Moscow, Russia, on May 9, 2018. (Xinhua/Evgeny Sinitsyn)

Russia held a military parade Wednesday at Moscow's Red Square to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

More than 13,000 troops and 75 aircraft took part in the annual military parade, held two days after Vladimir Putin was sworn in as Russian president to start his fourth term.

"This holiday has always been and will always be the dearest, most sacred day for each family, for all our huge country, a day of national pride and eternal unfailing memory," Putin said at the parade.

The president said it was the Soviet Union that had defeated Nazi Germany. Russia will never allow the distortion of the history of heroes who gave up their lives in the war, he said.

Russia understands the seriousness of new threats originating from intolerance and aggressive nationalism and is open to dialogue on all issues related to ensuring global security, he said. "It is ready for a constructive and equal partnership for the sake of agreement, peace and progress on the planet," Putin said.

The parade started at 10 a.m local time (0700 GMT) after the national anthem. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in an open-roof car inspected the troops and reported on their readiness to Putin, who is also supreme commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces.

After Putin's speech, servicemen from the Armed Forces, National Guard, military academies, the Emergencies Ministry and the Federal Security Service marched across the square as the military band played.

Over 150 newly-designed tanks, armored vehicles, combat vehicles, armored personnel carriers, missile launchers and howitzers successively rumbled through the square.

Some armament items made their debut at the parade, including the Uran-9 robotic combat vehicle, the Uran-6 robotic mine sweeper, the Katran and Corsair drones, and the Terminator-2 warfare tank.

An airshow followed the parade. The 75 aircraft flew over the Red Square in 18 groups. They included the fifth-generation Su-57 fighter, the Su-30SM multirole fighter and MiG-29SMT fighters.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also attended the parade. After that, Putin laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Red Square.

In addition to Moscow, 26 Russian cities, including St. Petersburg, Murmansk and Yekaterinburg, had their own military parades to commemorate the victory.


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