President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday pledged Russia’s military would be victorious in Ukraine and blamed Western countries for the conflict, comparing the fighting to World War II.
During his brief address at a Victory Day military parade on Red Square, Putin also told the columns of Russian military personnel in ceremonial uniform in central Moscow that the country’s future rests on Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.
“Today, civilisation is again at a decisive turning point,” Putin said standing shoulder to shoulder with elderly veterans and soldiers from Russia’s Ukraine campaign.
The parade marking the Soviet triumph over Nazi Germany this year was shorter and pared back from usual. Only 8,000 troops marched in Red Square this year – the lowest number since 2008. Even the parade in 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, featured some 13,000 soldiers, and last year, 11,000 troops took part.
Unlike in previous years, there was no fly-over of military jets, and less equipment was on show. The event, unusually, lasted less than an hour.
Russia also enacted a major security clampdown for the commemorations. Authorities curbed the use of drones and ride-sharing services in Moscow and even jet skis on the canals of St Petersburg.