Russian T-72B3 battle tanks roll down on the Red Square for the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2019. Russia marks the 74th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II here on May 9. (Xinhua/Bai Xueqi)
MOSCOW, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Russia held a military parade Thursday in Moscow's Red Square to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II (WWII).
More than 13,000 Russian servicemen participated in the parade and over 130 units of modern weapons and military equipment were displayed with the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, senior officials, war veterans and guests.
Putin congratulated all in his speech on the Victory Day which commemorates "the victory over fascism and retribution to the Nazis for all their atrocities," and expressed gratitude to the soldiers who defended their fatherland.
"We will never forget their courage and self-sacrifice and the exorbitant price by which the Victory is paid," Putin said before declaring a one-minute silence tribute to the martyrs.
The president stressed that Russia resolutely defends the true heroes of the Great Patriotic War, which remains a "sacred duty" to the country, and allows no distortions about the event or betrayals to their ancestors.
In the meantime, Russia will continue enhancing its defense capabilities and working with other countries to fight terrorism, neo-Nazism and extremism, he said.
"The lessons of the past war are still relevant. We have done and will do everything necessary to ensure the high combat capability of our Armed Forces and the defense potential of the most modern level ... We call on all countries to realize our shared responsibility for creating an effective and equal-for-all security system," Putin said.
The parade started at 10 a.m. local time (0700 GMT). After a general tribute to the Russian flag and the Victory Banner in the national anthem played by the military band, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, riding in an open-roof car, reviewed the troops in orderly alignment and reported on their readiness to Putin, the supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces.
After Putin's speech, servicemen from the Armed Forces, National Guard, military academies, the Emergencies Ministry and the Federal Security Service in 35 formations marched across the Red Square as the military band played.
More than 130 items of armaments were showcased, including a T-34 tank, Tigr-M armored vehicles, Kamaz Typhoon mine-resistant vehicles, T-72B3 and T-14 Armata tanks, Iskander-M ballistic missiles, BM-30 rocket launchers and Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile systems, among others.
The airshow traditionally in the final session of the parade was canceled due to unfavorable weather conditions. Originally, 74 aircraft were scheduled to participate in the parade.
The Victory Day is one of the most ceremonious festivals in Russia, for which the country holds large-scale military parades in different cities involving tens of thousands of troops as well as most advanced weapons and military equipment.
This year, a total of 29 Russian cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad, held military parades to commemorate the victory, with the participation of over 57,000 Russian servicemen and 1,500 military armaments, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.