′Russia will always side with forces of peace′ | News | DW | 09.05.2017
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'Russia will always side with forces of peace'

Russia showcased its military might at the traditional Victory Day parade, marking the 72nd anniversary of the Nazi defeat. President Vladimir Putin has urged the international community to unite against terrorism.

The central Red Square procession on Tuesday drew thousands of spectators, with President Putin and top Kremlin officials presiding over the event.

Some 10,000 soldiers and sailors and over 110 military vehicles took part in the parade, which is traditionally led by the legendary Soviet T-34 tank from the WWII era. However, organizers canceled the planned flyover of Russian military jets and helicopters due to bad weather.

The annual Victory Day event is the most important national holiday in Russia, honoring millions who lost their lives.

"There never has been and there never will be a force strong enough to conquer our people," the Russian president said in a televised speech.

"We will always keep Russia safe like you - the soldiers of Victory [in WWII] - have done," he added, emphasizing that the Russian army of today was capable of "beating back any kind of aggression."

"The Russian soldier today, same as ever, manifests  courage and heroism, ready to perform any feat and any sacrifice for his motherland and his people."

The Kremlin chief also urged the international community to unite against threats like terrorism, extremism and neo-Nazism.

"We are open to this cooperation," Putin said. "Russia will always side with the forces of peace, with those who choose the way of equal partnership."

Moldovia's pro-Russian president, Igor Dodon, was the only foreign dignitary present at this year's parade.

Pro-Russian separatists in the rebel-controlled parts of Ukraine also celebrated Victory Day in their de-facto capital of Donetsk.

In previous years, the event was attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and other world leaders.

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