Russia on Saturday staged a huge military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in a show of military might. Around 16,000 troops took part in the parade on Red Square that also showcased cutting edge weapons in one of the biggest Victory Day celebrations in decades.
In his speech to the assembled troops and veterans, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the carnage of the war underlined the importance of international cooperation. But in what was apparently a swipe at the United States, he said, “In the past decades we have seen attempts to create a unipolar world,” BBC said in a report.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Pranab Mukherjee of India and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon were among more than 20 world leaders watching the event. Other major figures attending were presidents Raul Castro of Cuba, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
Military units from across Russia – some dressed in WWII-era uniforms – marched in Russia’s capital, and more than 100 aircraft flew over Red Square.
The most talked-about new high-tech Russian armor was the T-14 Armata battle tank, which has a remote-controlled gun turret and reinforced capsule for the crew.
The RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles – each capable of delivering three nuclear warheads as well as Russian BMD-4M – were also on show.
In a sign of closer ties between Russia and China, a column of Chinese troops marched in Moscow for the first time. The US, Australia, Canada and some of the EU leaders didn’t attend the celebration.
27m Soviets Killed
The Soviet Union lost an estimated 27 million soldiers and civilians in WWII — more than any other country — and the Red Army’s triumph remains an enormous source of national pride.
According to published records, as many as 70 million people perished in that war – the great majorit
y of them civilians, while more than 27 million perished in the Soviet Union, the first front, where the European war was won, and some 20 million in China.
Russia and China suffered the worst casualties during WWII and thus have the greatest reasons to oppose attempts to rehabilitate Nazism and militarism, Putin said after meeting his Chinese counterpart on Friday.
“The hard lessons of the war say that coexistence of humanity is not ruled by the law of the jungle. The politics of peace is the exact opposite of the aggressive hegemonic politics of force,” Putin said. “The path of human development does not lay in the principle ‘the winner takes it all,’ not in zero-sum games.”
China and Russia are strengthening cooperation amid a Washington-led effort to isolate Moscow over its position in the Ukrainian crisis. Russia sees China as a major importer of energy in decades to come. The two countries also want to develop ties in defense production, military training, fighting against extremism and international crime.