Spectacular air stunts show Russia’s military might

This spectacular video shows Russian pilots performing stunts above Crimea as a part of Friday’s Victory Day celebration, which marked the 69th anniversary of the day the Soviet Union announced Nazi Germany had surrendered.

In the past, Russia and the Ukraine celebrated the day together, though some Ukrainians consider World War II a fight against both Germany and the U.S.S.R., and Friday’s demonstration was the first Victory Day celebration since the annexation of Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin joined the celebration, calling Victory Day Russia’s main holiday. Michael Birnbaum of The Washington Post wrote:

The day was once devoted primarily to private remembrances of the wartime victims that are in almost every Russian family, and many mourners here still pay visits to cemeteries to pile flowers on the graves of relatives.

But in 2008, Putin revived military parades through Red Square — they had ended after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 — and every year since, the celebrations have grown more elaborate.

In honor of Victory Day on Friday, the Russian military flew planes in formation over Sevastopol Bay. In a break from tradition, Moscow and Kiev did not stage joint marches in Sevastopol. (Reuters)
Nick Kirkpatrick is a digital photo editor at The Washington Post. Follow him on Instagram or on Twitter.
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