Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday praised Soviet contributions in World War II, as the country marked the Soviet victory against the Nazis.
“After defending their own land, the Soviet people continued to fight and liberate the states of Europe from invaders,” Putin said in a speech at a ceremony celebrating the 75th anniversary of the victory of the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War in Moscow’s Red Square.
The Russian leader led a minute of silence to commemorate the numerous Soviet soldiers who fell during the war fighting and defeating the Nazis.
Russia will protect and defend the fair truth of the Great Patriotic War, an integral part of World War II, according to Putin, adding that the country will never forget the contributions of the Soviet Union’s allies from the anti-Nazi coalition and their courageous fighters, he added.
Russia is open for dialogue and cooperation on the most burning issues, including creating a common reliable system of security, which the complex and rapidly-changing world needs, Putin said in his speech.
“We understand how important it is to strengthen friendship and confidence among peoples … Only by uniting together can we protect the world from new dangerous threats,” he noted.
Before Putin’s speech, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a black open-top limousine reviewed the troops lined up at Red Square, greeting them and wishing them a happy Victory Day. The troops in full dress chanted “Hooray!” in reply.
Putin’s speech was followed by a military parade involving about 14,000 soldiers and more than 200 units of military hardware, including the legendary T-34 tanks used by the Red Army, as well as modern tanks and missile systems.
Troops from 13 foreign countries, including China, also marched across Red Square.
The parade culminated with an air show featuring 75 warplanes and helicopters, including strategic bombers and the latest fighter jets.
The air show ended with six attack aircraft painting the sky over Red Square in the three colors of the Russian national flag.
More than 2,000 guests, including a number of foreign leaders, attended the celebrations in Red Square.
After the parade, Putin and foreign leaders laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexander Garden near the Kremlin wall.
Military parades of various scales were also held in 27 other Russian cities on Wednesday, as well as at the Hmeymim air base in Syria.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Russia postponed the annual Victory Day parade from the traditional date of May 9 for the first time since 1995 when the day was declared a national holiday.
The Soviet Union held a historic parade in Red Square on June 24, 1945, marking the victory of the Great Patriotic War, which claimed about 27 million lives of people of the Soviet Union, according to official statistics.