Russia has commemorated Victory Day, the 67th anniversary of Russia's defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, with a military parade in Moscow's Red Square.
Newly inaugurated Russian President Vladimir Putin presided over a military parade through Moscow's Red Square on Wednesday that commemorates Victory Day, Russia's defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
Around 14,000 troops were on hand for the ceremony, which also featured a display of Russian missiles and other military hardware.
Putin was joined in the stands overlooking the parade by his new prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who succeeded Putin in the role after gaining parliamentary approval Tuesday. Putin served for one term as prime minister following two stints as president. Medvedev was president during Putin's term as prime minister.
The parade started with military orchestral music as Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov inspected the troops in Red Square.
In a brief speech, Putin said Russia reserved the right to stand up for itself a week after the country's chief of staff made comments about NATO's plans to build a missile defense shield in Poland.
"Russia consistently conducts its policy for strengthening security in the world," Putin said, "and we have the great moral right to fundamentally and insistently … stand up for our position."
General Nikolai Makarov had warned on Thursday that Moscow could respond to the perceived threat of the missile shield with new investments in military hardware of their own for a preemptive strike.
mz/ncy (AP, AFP, dpa)