Russia’s Putin hails Soviet role in WWII at military parade

The world owes the Soviet Union a debt of gratitude for its contribution to Nazi Germany’s defeat, Russian leader says.

Victory Day Parade in Moscow
Putin attends the Victory Day parade in Red Square [Sergey Pyatakov/Kremlin/Sputnik via Reuters]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the world owes the Soviet Union a debt of gratitude for its contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

The Russian leader made the comments at the beginning of a military parade through Red Square in Moscow to mark the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory in WWII.

“It is impossible even to imagine what the world would be if the Red Army hadn’t come to defend it,” Putin said in an address to thousands of troops gathered to participate in the annual Victory Day parade.

Soviet soldiers “freed European countries from invaders, put an end to the terrible tragedy of the Holocaust, saved the German people from Nazism, from its deadly ideology”, Putin said.

“Our duty is to keep this in mind,” he said during the televised address, urging Russians to remember that the main burden of the fight against Nazism had fallen on the Soviet Union.

Delayed celebrations

The Russian president had been forced to postpone the country’s traditional May 9 Victory Day celebrations by the coronavirus pandemic, but it was the first mass event held by the Kremlin after it eased lockdown measures.

This year’s parade features about 14,000 soldiers from 13 countries, as well as vintage equipment and the latest military hardware showing off Russia’s fighting capabilities.

In his 20 years in office, Putin has harnessed the legacy of the USSR‘s victory in WWII to boost patriotic sentiment and support for his government.

Before the parade, he criticised the West for “insulting Russia” by playing down the USSR’s role in winning the war.

Source: News Agencies