Putin warns the world that ‘peace is very fragile’ as Russia stages huge show of military force at annual Victory Day parade

  • Russia is celebrating the 73rd anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II
  • The event is traditionally when the country displays its military might but Putin held out olive branch to West
  • Russian President said that his nation is ‘open to dialogue on all different aspects of global security’ 

Vladimir Putin today held out an olive branch to the West as he staged a massive military show of force in Red Square.

Russia showcased some of its most modern armaments at the annual Victory Day parade, marking the defeat of the Nazis.

The Russian President was joined by foreign dignitaries including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Serbia President Aleksandar Vucic.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on the far left and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu watch the Victory Day military parade

Russia is marking the 73rd anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat over Nazi Germany in the Second World War 

Tigr-M multipurpose infantry mobility vehicle and S-24 Yars mobile intercontinental ballistic missile launchers roll down Moscow’s Red Square

In a speech at the solemn event, he warned: ‘Mankind has to realise that peace is very fragile.

‘Russia is open to dialogue on all different aspects of global security.’

The annual parade marks the tens of millions of Soviet soldiers and civilians who died in the Second World War, but it came at a period of unprecedented tension in the world since the end of the Cold War.

Some 13,000 servicemen and women marched across Red Square as Putin watched from close to Lenin’s mausoleum.

The parade commemorates the tens of millions of Soviet soldiers and civilians who were killed in the conflict 

Mikoyan MiG-31 interceptor aircraft fly in formation over Red Square during the parade 

Russia’s MiG-29 jet fighters of the Strizhi aerobatic team and Su-30 jet fighters of the Russkiye Vityazi aerobatic team 

The parade has traditionally been an opportunity for Russia to display its military hardware, such as these Msta-S self-propelled tracked howitzers

Some of the 13,000 Russian service personnel who took part in the parade 

The parade marched across Red Square as President Putin watched from close to Lenin’s mausoleum

Servicemen carry a Russian national flag and Victory Banner as they march in Red Square to the accompaniment of a military band 

Much of the equipment on display has recently been put to the test in Syria 

Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces, Colonel General Oleg Salyukov reviews the troops

Russian Su-25 assault aircraft release smoke in the colours of the Russian flag while flying above the parade 

A Mil Mi-26 heavy transport helicopter and Mil Mi-8 combat helicopters flying in formation 

Russian National Guard officers taking part in the commemorations to mark the Soviet Union’s victory in the Second World War 

Russian snipers kept a watchful eye on proceedings from the area around Red Square 

A Patrul armoured vehicle with a soldier sitting on top races down Red Square 

Members of Yunarmiya youth military organisation also took part in the parade 

Patrul (front) and Ural armoured vehicles roll down Moscow’s Red Square

Some 159 tanks and other military armaments were displayed and there was a flypast of 75 aircraft .

Included were Russia’s newest Terminator armoured fighting vehicle.

From the country’s new robot forces the display included for the first time the Uran-9 unmanned tank – war-tested in Syria – seen as capable of ambushing NATO forces and Korsar short range attack drones.

Putin’s new state-of-the-art Su-57 stealth fighter made its debut flying over the Kremlin fresh from war zone trials in Syria.

On parade too were Russia’s nuclear missiles including the TOPOL-M alongside armoured vehicles from the Second World War such as the T34 tank. 

Around 1.6 million people recognised as World War II veterans are still alive in Russia, the labour ministry said. 

‘This is a holiday which has always been, is now, and always will be sacred for every family,’ Putin said, greeting a watching crowd including veterans decked out in medals on a bright sunny morning.

Putin poured scorn on those, who he said, are trying to ‘rewrite history’ and downplay the Soviet Union’s role in overcoming the Nazis.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu makes the sign of the cross at the start of the proceedings 

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu salutes as he rides in an open top car past the assembled troops 

Guest invited to the commemorations sit at the side of Red Square with St Basil’s Cathedral in the background 

Former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev is helped with walking as he prepares to attend the event 

Vladimir Putin is joined by Benjamin Netanyahu and Aleksandar Vucic as they lay carnations at a memorial to the dead 

During his speech the Russian President said people are trying to ‘erase’ Russia’s feat in freeing large parts of Europe from the Nazis 

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a wreath laying ceremony

A new generation of Russian soldiers marching in Red Square to mark the sacrifice of their forebearers 

A girl in uniform stands in Red Square  front of a military band 

A veteran of what the Russians call the Great Patriot War embraces a girl. There are 1.6 million people alive in Russia who are veterans of World War II 

A boy in a tank crew helmet and binoculars watches in the crowd as the troops and weapons parade past 

Russian sailors were also among the thousands of personnel marking the victory over Hitler 

Russian troops responded to President Putin’s speech with a traditional shout of ‘hurrah’

‘Today people are trying to erase the feat of our people in saving Europe from slavery, from extinction, from the horrors of the Holocaust,’ Putin warned, saying they are trying to ‘forge, rewrite and misinterpret the events of the war.’

‘We won’t ever let them do this.’ 

The national leaders later took part in a ceremony with Putin at the Memorial to the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin walls.

Hollywood action star Steven Seagal was also watching from the stands, after attending Putin’s inauguration on Monday.

Referring directly to the current political situation, Putin warned against a repeat of World War II, saying that ‘behind new threats are the same ugly traits: egotism, intolerance, aggressive nationalism and claims to be unique.’

His speech concluded with shouts of ‘Hurrah!’ from the assembled forces.

Putin has sharply increased military spending over the 18 years he has dominated Russian politics, handed the Russian military significant policy-making clout, and deployed Russian forces in Ukraine and Syria, stoking tensions with the West. 

Marking one of the most heartfelt national holidays in Russia, thousands across the country were set to take part in marches through city centres holding up photographs of their relatives who fought in World War II, a new tradition that has taken root as the number of living veterans has dwindled.



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