Russia’s Victory Day parade: Vladimir Putin warns ‘combat forces are always ready’ | World News

By Kieren Williams, journalist

Thursday May 9, 2024 08:47, United Kingdom

Vladimir Putin used his Victory Day speech this year to warn that Russia’s fighting forces were “always ready” but admitted the country was going through a “difficult period.”

Every year, Moscow dresses up in patriotic regalia for Victory Day, a celebration of its victory over Nazi Germany during World War II.

Today marks the 79th anniversary and Mr. Putin addressed the parade on Red Square, trying to highlight his country’s military capabilities in a speech aimed at both foreign and domestic audiences.

In his speech this year, Mr Putin said his country would “never forget” World War II, but said Russia was going through a “difficult time” because “the future of the homeland depends on us “.

“Today, Victory Day, we are even more aware of this,” he said before warning: “Our strategic forces are always ready for combat.”

Watch: What is Victory Day?

What is Victory Day in Russia?

The parade marks the 79th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany. Photo: Reuters

Mr. Putin said on Thursday that Russia would do everything it could to avoid a global confrontation, but would not allow anyone to threaten it.

The Kremlin leader said Russia’s nuclear forces are still combat-ready, as he addressed the massed ranks of Russian military personnel in Red Square.

Mr Putin claimed the history of World War II was distorted and used his speech to send a message to Russian troops fighting in Ukraine, trying to boost their morale as the war continues to drag on.

He observed a minute of silence during his speech in tribute to Russian soldiers who died in combat.

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He ended with: “Glory to the armed forces, to Russia, to victory.”

Since coming to power on the last day of 1999, Mr. Putin has made May 9 an important part of his political agenda, marked by displays of military power.

Columns of tanks and missiles roll into Red Square and squadrons of fighter jets roar overhead as medal-decorated veterans join in to review the parade.

Many wear the black and orange St. George ribbon, traditionally associated with VE Day.