Russian WW2 parade showcases new arms

Tom MarkLast Update : Monday 9 May 2016 - 12:47 PM
Russian WW2 parade showcases new arms

Russian WW2 Victory Day parade showcases new weapons

  • 9 May 2016
  • From the section Europe
Sailors parading in Moscow, 9 May 16Image copyright Reuters
Image caption All branches of the Russian military are traditionally represented on Victory Day

Russian armed forces have paraded in central Moscow to mark the 71st anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.

Some of Russia’s latest military hardware was on show, including the RS-24 Yars long-range nuclear missile.

Fighters, heavy bombers and helicopters flew over Red Square, including types combat-tested in Syria, where Russian aircraft are helping government forces.

The march past included Russia’s new National Guard.

The National Guard will be armed with new AK-74M machine guns and will be tasked with fighting terrorism and organised crime. Those operations are currently the domain of interior ministry Omon and Sobr special forces.

The parade involved 10,000 military staff, 135 armoured vehicles and 71 aircraft.

Image copyright AFP

Image caption Servicewomen marched with the St George’s ribbon – a military symbol now fashionable in Russia

Image copyright AFP

Image caption Patriotic songs from WW2 featured in the military performance

Image copyright Reuters

Image caption Su-25 dive bombers flew in formation over Red Square displaying the Russian tricolour

Victory Day (9 May) is an occasion for the Kremlin to stir up patriotic feelings, as Russians remember the sacrifices made in World War Two.

Russia is ploughing billions of dollars into modernising its military, amid tension with Nato over the conflict in Ukraine. So the annual parade also shows off Russian military might for an international audience.

‘National unity’

For the first time a contingent from the Russian space forces joined the parade – officers and cadets from a military academy that produced famous Soviet cosmonauts, including Yuri Gagarin and German Titov.

The heavy armour included new Russian anti-aircraft missile systems – the S-400 and Pantsir – as well as the Iskander medium-range missile. The S-400 is currently protecting Russia’s airbase near Latakia in Syria.

Addressing the armed forces, President Vladimir Putin praised the wartime feat of millions of Soviet citizens, who “demonstrated the true strength of our nation, its unity, triumphant spirit and patriotic devotion”.

He also called for a “non-bloc system of international security” – reiterating Russian opposition to Nato, without mentioning the Western alliance by name.

There was an acrobatic display by Su-25 dive bombers – planes used by Russia to attack rebels in Syria. The Su-25s trailed clouds of smoke in the Russian red-white-blue colours.

Source: BBC World

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2016-05-09 2016-05-09
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