Photography

Photos: Putin’s troops, tanks, missile launchers at Victory Day parade

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to watch the Victory Day military parade in Moscow's Red Square on May 9.

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Russia held its yearly military parade on Monday — Victory Day — to commemorate the Soviet Union’s role in defeating Nazi Germany during World War II.

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Russian military vehicles roll through Red Square during the parade.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Some Ukrainian officials had feared that Russian President Vladimir Putin would formally declare war on Ukraine or announce new commitments to the battlefield. But while the parade was rife with military pageantry and symbolism, and although Putin again argued that Russia’s invasion was justified, he did not make any declarations about an escalation.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Russian service members march through Red Square.

Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Instead, the parade was a relatively toned-down affair. Some 131 pieces of military equipment were displayed — fewer than last year’s 190. Russian authorities also eschewed the flyover that typically accompanies the parade, blaming the weather even though the sky above Moscow appeared only partly cloudy.

Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Russian tanks parade in Red Square.

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Still, the parade was a display of Russia’s military force, featuring goose-stepping soldiers, tanks, armored vehicles, missile launchers and military bands. Some 11,000 service members assembled in Moscow’s Red Square and were greeted as the parade began by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Russian servicewomen march during the parade.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

In his speech, Putin said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a “preemptive pushback” against what he characterized, without evidence, as Western provocations that threatened Russia.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

He said soldiers were fighting “for the security of our motherland” in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine and called Russia’s intervention “necessary, timely and the only right solution.”

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Putin watches the parade.

Mikhail Metzel/Pool/Sputnik/Reuters

Mikhail Metzel/Pool/Sputnik/Reuters

Putin shakes hands with spectators before the festivities.

Reuters

Reuters

Before his speech, Putin, who wore the orange and black military ribbon of the Order of St. George on his lapel, shook hands with some of the hundreds of World War II veterans in attendance. He then greeted troops and laid flowers at a memorial to unknown fallen soldiers.

Reuters

Putin lays flowers at the memorial to unknown fallen soldiers near the Kremlin wall.

Anton Novoderezhkin/Kremlin pool/Sputnik/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Anton Novoderezhkin/Kremlin pool/Sputnik/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Veterans and guests watch the Victory Day parade.

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

The parade featured heavy weaponry, including a “legendary” World War II-era tank, howitzers, surface-to-air missile systems and intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, the Russian state-owned news agency Tass reported.

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Intercontinental ballistic missile launchers in Red Square.

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Russian soldiers salute from military vehicles.

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Robyn Dixon and Mary Ilyushina contributed to this report.

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

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