President Vladimir Putin has joined Russian veterans for an unusual ceremony commemorating the 1945 victory over Japan to end World War II.

The surrender of Japan is not usually celebrated in Russia, but this year is the 70th anniversary and Putin is attending commemorations in China, including a military parade Thursday. China celebrates its victory the day after Japan formally surrendered to the Allies.

On his way to Beijing on Wednesday, Putin made a brief stop in Chita, a Siberian city not far from the Chinese border, where he laid a wreath at a war memorial and spoke with local veterans.

Military parades also were held in eastern parts of Russia, including on the Kamchatka Peninsula just north of the Kuril Islands, which Russia seized from Japan after the war.