Tanks rumbled across Red Square and fighter jets screamed overhead on Friday in Russia’s biggest Victory Day military parade in years, fuelling patriotic fervour as President Vladimir Putin rallies his people over the Ukraine crisis.
Thousands of goose-stepping troops, motorised artillery and ballistic missile launchers paraded past Putin under the Kremlin’s red walls in a show of military might, while jets, helicopters and bombers flew in cloudless skies over Moscow.
State television called it the biggest such parade in 20 years on the holiday honouring the World War Two victory over Nazi Germany, a day which stirs national pride more than any other in Russia.
Putin sought to maximise the surge of patriotism by also staging big parades this year in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, following its annexation from Ukraine.
But in a break from tradition reflecting the East-West standoff over Ukraine, Moscow and Kiev did not stage joint marches of their countries’ sailors in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based.
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