search

On anniversary of Nazi defeat, Putin vows to strengthen Russian military

At annual parade marking WWII Allies victory in Europe, president says Russian armed forces ready to cooperate with others combating ‘terrorism, neo-Nazism and extremism’

Russian servicewomen march through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in downtown Moscow on May 9, 2019. (Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)
Russian servicewomen march through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in downtown Moscow on May 9, 2019. (Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will keep strengthening its armed forces, President Vladimir Putin promised Thursday, speaking at the annual military Victory Day parade that flooded Red Square in Moscow with celebrants, soldiers and military equipment.

The parade marked the 74th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. It included about 13,000 servicemen and 130 pieces of military equipment, ranging from a T-34 tank — renowned for its effectiveness in World War II — to lumbering Yars intercontinental missile launch units.

For the second time in three years, the parade did not conclude with an aerial display of helicopters and warplanes speeding above the square due to heavy clouds and concerns about storms.

Putin said later that he regretted the aircraft could not perform but added “there’s no need to risk the safety of the pilots and the people on the ground.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with military officers after the Victory Day parade at Red Square in downtown Moscow on May 9, 2019. (Alexey NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP)

Among the guests were recently resigned Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Steven Seagal, the American actor who obtained Russian citizenship in 2016 and later was named a special envoy for humanitarian ties with the United States.

“We have done and will do everything necessary to ensure the high combat capability of our armed forces,” Putin said in his speech. “At the same time, Russia is open for cooperation with all who are ready to resist terrorism, neo-Nazism and extremism.”

In the afternoon, an estimated half a million people streamed down one of Moscow’s main thoroughfares, many holding photos of relatives who fought or suffered in the war. The Soviet Union is estimated to have lost 26 million people in World War II, including 8 million soldiers.

Dozens of other Russian cities also held parades for the country’s most significant secular holiday.

Russian tanks T-72 B3 roll through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in downtown Moscow on May 9, 2019. (Alexander NEMENOV / AFP)

In neighboring Ukraine, which also observes the holiday, outgoing President Petro Poroshenko struck out at Russia.

“For five years, the descendants of the glorious victors over Nazism have defended with arms the freedom of the Ukrainian people and their civilization choice from Russian aggression,” Poroshenko said.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backs separatist rebels who have been fighting Ukrainian forces in the country’s east for the past five years, a conflict that has left over 13,000 dead.

TV actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy roundly defeated Poroshenko in Ukraine’s April 21 presidential runoff.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.