It’s a day for patriots in Russia, where the country is celebrating Victory Day to commemorate the World War II defeat of Nazi Germany. A parade of troops, tanks, and missile launchers made its way through Red Square to mark the occasion.
“It is a holiday when an overwhelming force of patriotism triumphs, when all of us feel particularly acutely what it means to be loyal to the motherland and how important it is to defend its interests,” President Vladimir Putin said.
The Russian leader also said that the “iron will of the Soviet people, their fearlessness and stamina saved Europe from slavery.”
The annual parade offered a chance for Russia to show off its military, as a tense crisis continues to unfold in neighboring Ukraine. Putin did not directly mention Ukraine in his speech — but the BBC reports that after the parade ended, the president flew to Crimea, the region Russia recently annexed after it broke away from Ukraine.
In Moscow, Putin watched the parade from a packed grandstand alongside others politicians and military officers, with formations of jets and helicopters flying above the city.
As more than 10,000 troops filled the square, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu saluted them from the back of an open convertible limousine.
The parade comes one day after Putin supervised war games and military drills, including the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and a simulated nuclear strike.
On Thursday, Russia’s defense ministry announced that it will “quadruple its arsenal of long-range precision delivery platforms in the next seven years,” Ria Novosti reports. The list of assets in that category includes submarines, bombers, and fighter jets. [Copyright 2014 NPR]