MOSCOW – Thousands of Russian troops are marching on Red Square in the annual Victory Day parade in a proud display of the nation's military might amid the escalating tensions over Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin made no reference to the situation in Ukraine when he opened Friday's parade, focusing on the historic importance of the victory over Nazi Germany.
Victory Day is Russia's most important secular holiday and a key element of the national identity, reflecting the nation's enormous suffering and honoring millions of victims of World War II.
The holiday also offers a chance to display the nation's massive military arsenal.
About 11,000 troops proudly marched across Red Square to the tunes of marches and patriotic songs. Some 150 military vehicles and about 70 combat aircraft took part in the show.