Putin lauds Russian 'glory and power'

2015-05-09 20:42
Vladimir Putin (AP)

Vladimir Putin (AP)

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Moscow - President Vladimir Putin presided over Russia's largest military parade on Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet military defeat of Nazi Germany in WWII.

"It was the Red Army that ... put a victorious period to the war with Hitler's Germany," Putin told parade participants and onlookers at Moscow's Red Square, according to Russia's Tass news agency.

Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders from 20 countries attended the parade, which featured 16 000 soldiers and 200 military vehicles, and was to end with a flyover by 140 aircraft.

Western leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, boycotted the event to protest Russia's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The parade was a show of strength by Putin, who denounced as "absurd" Western sanctions imposed on Russia after it annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last year.

Merkel is expected to meet with Putin in Moscow on Sunday to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

At a reception following the parade, Putin thanked war veterans for their service and called the anniversary, known as Victory Day, "the day of Russia's glory and power".

Speaking about the Soviet Union's triumph over Hitler's Germany, Putin called for a global security system without military blocs, saying in his speech that the principles of post-war order had been increasingly violated.

Russia denies accusations by the West that it is arming separatists in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. More than 6 000 civilians have been killed in the conflict.

A Russia-backed ceasefire agreement reached in September has been violated by both the separatists and the Ukrainian army.

The conflict started in April last year.

Read more on:    vladimir putin  |  russia  |  ukraine

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