MOSCOW. — Russia staged its postponed Victory Day Military Parade in Moscow on Wednesday, marking the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
The parade is traditionally held on May 9.
President Putin postponed the event until June 24 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since coming to power two decades ago, President Putin has sought either as president or prime minister to restore symbols of the Soviet and Russian past to boost patriotism.
The spectacle of military might in Moscow’s Red Square involved some 14 000 troops from 13 countries, more than 200 historic and modern military vehicles, and 75 aircraft.
Most of the troops in the parade were from Russia. Also taking part were forces from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
President Putin sat along with foreign leaders and World War II veterans of Soviet forces. Those veterans had been placed under quarantine ahead of the parade. Soldiers taking part in the parade also had been tested and placed in quarantine ahead of the parade.
Speaking from a podium on Red Square, President Putin told the gathering: “It’s impossible to imagine what would have happened to the world if the Red Army hadn’t defended it.”
He said Soviet soldiers “did not need war, nor other countries, nor glory, nor honour. They sought to finish off the enemy, win, and return home. And they paid an irreplaceable price for the freedom of Europe.”
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin had urged spectators to stay at home and watch the parade on television. Meanwhile, several cities that would normally hold smaller parades cancelled them or went forward without crowds because of the Covid-19 pandemic. — AFP.