Russia marks 70th anniversary of anti-fascist victory with grand parade

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SHAFAQNA – Russia celebrated the 70th anniversary of the victory of the world anti-fascist war with a large-scale military parade at the Red Square on Saturday.

The parade, the largest one since the fall of the former Soviet Union in 1991, was attended by about 20 leaders of nations and international organizations with the participation of military units from 10 countries, including China.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the site, in which he warned that the military-bloc thinking mode and attempts to create a unipolar world would undermine global stability and development.

He noted in particular that China was the main battlefield in Asian countries’ resistance against militarism in World War II (WWII), sacrificing millions of lives.

Putin also declared a minute of silence with foreign leaders to pay tribute to those anti-fascist fighters who died in brutal fighting.

Over 16,000 soldiers marched across the Red Square, a 50-percent increase from the parade in 2010. As a sign of respect for wartime history, several units marched through the Red Square clad in WWII-era uniforms.

For the first time, a total of 102 Chinese servicemen took part in the parade, which has attracted special attention from the audience at the site.

“China’s guard of honor impressed me a lot,” Russian veteran Yuri Putincev said. “They show the world well-disciplined and responsible military manner of Chinese army. Russian and China supported each other during WWII, and peoples of the two nations should pass on the historic friendship.”

The legendary T-34 medium tank, widely recognized as the best and most efficient combat vehicle during WWII, opened the mechanized column with 194 units of armaments displayed. Several weapons were showcased for the first time, including the much-anticipated Armata T-14 main battle tank.

Some of 2,300 war veterans attending the parade were crying when seeing the T-34 tanks, which reminded them of the battles they participated in 70 years ago.

Their grand-grandchildren, many of them wearing stylized Soviet uniform tailored to kids’size, welcomed the historical machines waving Russian tricolors and Soviet red flags.

The final part of the parade was traditionally the flyover involving 143 jets and helicopters of the Russian Air Force.

Renowned aerobatics teams of Russian Knights and Swift conducted a mixed formation of Su-27s and MiG-29s fighter jets in the number of a huge “70” in the sky, and six other jets colored the sky with the red-blue-white Russian national colors.

During the parade and the following flower-laying ceremony at the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers near the Kremlin, Putin was accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on each side, a sign of close relations between Moscow and Beijing as well as of Russia’s efforts to highlight the UN’s role as the principal mechanism for solutions to global issues.

Ivanna Abrosimova, a volunteer of the parade, said it is her great honor to be a volunteer of this year’s celebration.

“The events gave me an opportunity to understand the unusual experience of our heroes. I am very proud of my country, and I want to thank the veterans of the Great Patriotic War for bringing us the peaceful life that we enjoy today,” she added.

May 9 is the Victory Day of the Great Patriotic War, Russia’s term for WWII. The Soviet Union made great contributions in the fight against the German fascist forces in the European theater, which cost the Soviet Union 27 million lives.

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