Putin delivers speech during Victory Day parade in Moscow
Russian president Vladimir Putin gave a speech in Moscow's Red Square on Monday morning commemorating the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
In his address, he said: "A real war has once again been unleashed against the Motherland." He claims the West aims to bring about the fall of Russia.
"Today, civilisation is once again at a decisive turning point," he said before thousands of soldiers on Red Square. "We have beaten back international terrorism, we will protect the people of the Donbas and we will protect our security."
He went on to say that the West had forgotten the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. He said Russia wanted a "peaceful future", but the West promotes "hatred and Russophobia".
He warned that sovereignty depends on the Russian soldiers in the permanent "special military operation" in Ukraine. "Everyone is praying for you," he said. "Nothing is more present than your military task. The security of the country rests with you; the future of our state and our people depends on you."
Moment of silence
Contrary to earlier announcements, foreign guests were also present, with heads of state and government from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Armenia in the stands. "It is very important that the leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States have gathered here in Moscow today," Putin said. "All the peoples of the Soviet Union contributed to this past victory."
A moment of silence was observed for the victims of the "Great Patriotic War" in 1941-1945 against Nazi Germany. After Putin's speech, the military parade continued.
In addition to the approximately 8,000 soldiers - some who have recently fought in Ukraine - large quantities of war equipment were also on display, including rocket launchers. While no Russian tanks were present in the parade this year, a historic T-34 Soviet tank remained.
Following the parade, Putin and other heads of state laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier in Moscow.
© ABACA PRESS PHOTO