Russia holds military parade to mark V-Day
Servicemen march during the military parade marking the 76th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War on Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2021. (Xinhua/Evgeny Sinitsyn)
Putin praised Soviet contributions to the defeat of fascism during World War II and warned against attempts to rewrite history.
Russia held a grand military parade in central Moscow's Red Square to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
In an address to troops and guests ahead of the annual event, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Soviet contributions to the defeat of fascism during World War II and warned against attempts to rewrite history.
Putin said lessons from history must be learned, but those who are "obsessed with the delusional theory of their exclusivity" are in fact utilizing aspects of Nazi ideology.
"Each family holds a sacred memory of those who were victorious. And we will always be proud of their feat," he said.
Putin said Russia consistently defends international law, firmly protects its national interests, and ensures the security of its people.
"This is reliably guaranteed by the valiant Armed Forces of Russia, the heirs of the soldiers of victory," Putin said.
The Russian leader led a minute of silence to commemorate the numerous Soviet soldiers who fell during the war fighting and ultimately defeating the Nazis.
Before Putin's speech, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a black open-top limousine reviewed the troops lined up on Red Square and wished them a happy Victory Day. The troops in full dress chanted "Hooray!" in reply.
About 12,000 soldiers in 37 formations marched across Red Square, followed by a mechanized convoy of more than 190 pieces of military equipment.
The parade ended with 76 aircraft and helicopters roaring past in the cloudy skies of Moscow.
Tajiki President Emomali Rahmon watched the celebrations alongside Putin.
After the parade, Putin and Rahmon laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexander Garden outside the Kremlin wall.
The Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany was an integral part of World War II. The Soviet Union lost roughly 27 million people, both soldiers and civilians, according to official statistics.