Russia has rolled out air defence systems built to operate in sub-zero Arctic conditions as it showcased its military might at a parade on Moscow’s Red Square.
The Victory Day parade, an annual event commemorating the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, took place under grey skies as President Vladimir Putin looked on from a platform alongside Soviet war veterans.
“Lessons of the past war remind us to be vigilant, and the Armed Forces of Russia are capable of repelling any potential aggression,” Mr Putin told the parade.
“But for an effective battle with terrorism, extremism, neo-Nazism and other threats the whole international community needs to be consolidated … we are open for such cooperation.”
The parade was the first time Russia had showcased its Tor-M and Pantsir SA air defence systems, painted in the white and black colours of the country’s Arctic forces.
About 10,000 soldiers participated, standing rigidly as Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reviewed them from an open-top limousine.
Two Pantsir-SA surface-to-air missile systems are seen during the parade. (Reuters: Sergei Karpukhin)
The soldiers then marched out to make way for a display of military vehicles ranging from armoured cars to lumbering Topol intercontinental ballistic missile launchers.
The Kremlin has been flexing its military muscle in the hydrocarbon-rich Arctic region, as it vies for dominance with rivals Canada, the United States and Norway.
“The Russian soldier today, as in all times, showing courage and heroism, is ready for any feat, for any sacrifice for the sake of his motherland and people,” Mr Putin said.
An aerial show by Russia’s air force, including warplanes that have flown missions to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army, was cancelled because of low visibility.
Smaller parades were held in cities across Russia, in Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, which Russia annexed three years ago, as well as at Russia’s Hmeimim air base in Syria.
People carry flags and pictures of World War II soldiers in central Moscow. (Reuters: Sergei Karpukhin)
Moldovan President Igor Dodon was the only foreign dignitary to attend the Moscow parade.
In prior years, leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping had attended.