Russia has shown off its military might in a commemorative parade in the Red Square on Monday, in which it showcased the latest in military hardware.
The annual Victory Day parade commemorates Russia’s victory over Nazi forces in World War II and is used as an opportunity for Russia to display its military might.
Russia President Vladimir Putin stood with Soviet war veterans and looked on as 10,000 soldiers, 130 units of military hardware and 71 aircraft (to mark the 71st anniversary of the ending of WWII) took part in the parade, the Russian government said.
It included a range of modern weapons including Russian “Tiger” T-90 tanks, armored personnel carriers and self-propelled artillery, such as MSTA-S howitzers. Female soldiers also took part in the march for the first time.
Russia’s prized fighter jets including supersonic Tupolev Tu-22M Backfire bombers, Sukhoi Su-27, Su-34, MiG-29 fighter aircrafts and the latest Su-35 fighter jets used in Syria also flew over the square in coordinated displays as military bands played Soviet marches. Mil Mi 8 multipurpose helicopters also flew over the square in succession.
Columns of tanks followed marching troops and the advanced S-400 air defense missile system which is deployed in Syria to protect the Russian air base there was also on display, Reuters reported. Russia’s latest Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile systems also rolled through the square as well as its Buk-M2 surface-to-air missile system.
The parade to mark what is called the Great Patriotic War in Russia (it entered the war on the side of the western Allies in 1941 after Nazi Germany invaded the then-Soviet Union, breaking a previous pact with Russia) comes at a time when patriotic fervor is running high in Russia as the country remains largely isolated on a global stage due to international sanctions imposed on the country in early 2014 for its annexation of Crimea and its perceived role in a pro-Russia uprising in Ukraine.
Addressing the crowds on Monday, Putin commemorated the heroism of Soviet troops.
“The Great Patriotic War will always be an outstanding, sacred deed of our people, a call to live honestly, hold high the bar of truth and justice and pass these values on from one generation to the next,” he said, according to the Kremlin’s website.