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Russia prepares for victory day celebrations amid Ukraine war

Moscow, 9 May 2024, (GNP): Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing to speak at the yearly Victory Day parade in Moscow, aiming to bolster patriotism amidst the ongoing advancement of his forces in Ukraine.

On Thursday, the May 9 parade commemorates the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II and has evolved into one of Russia’s most significant public holidays during President Putin’s tenure. Putin has consistently portrayed the ongoing conflict with Ukraine as a crucial struggle against “Nazism” for Russia’s existence.

The primary parade unfolds on Red Square, showcasing formations of Russian military hardware, such as sophisticated missiles and air defense systems, alongside thousands of military personnel adorned in ceremonial garb.

Representatives from various countries are frequently invited to participate in the ceremony.

According to Russian state-media, eight world leaders are set to attend Thursday’s parade, as reported by a Kremlin aide. They include the heads of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, as well as the leaders of Cuba, Laos, and Guinea-Bissau.

May 9th, Victory Day, holds immense significance in Russia, possibly being the most important day of the year. The commemoration honors the sacrifice of 27 million lives in defeating Fascism and liberating Europe. It’s a reminder that such sacrifices should never be forgotten, despite claims of victory from those who paid a far lesser price.

The Kremlin convened a summit of leaders from the Eurasian Economic Union, a regional bloc comprising several former Soviet states, on the day preceding the parade.

Putin’s upcoming address will be influenced by the progress of Russian troops in Ukraine and his recent re-election, securing another six-year term in March.

Despite much anticipation surrounding a Ukrainian counter-offensive last year, Russia’s army successfully defended its position.

Subsequently, it has made advancements on the front lines, while Kiev faces challenges related to ammunition and manpower shortages.

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Victory day’s preparation in Russia

Security measures in Moscow have been intensified prior to this year’s parade, coinciding with a series of Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian territory.

Scheduled to commence at 10:00 am (0700 GMT) in Moscow, the parade ranks among the largest events held annually in the Russian capital.

Preparations for the parade include night-time rehearsals conducted weeks beforehand, the closure of significant areas in central Moscow to facilitate military traffic, and the installation of extensive scaffolding and banners along the walls of the Kremlin on Red Square.

Several regions in Russia, such as the western Kursk and Pskov regions, have opted to cancel their parades due to security apprehensions.

The celebrations occur just two days after Putin pledged to secure “victory” for Russians, marking the beginning of his unprecedented fifth term.

Moreover, Russia has heightened its nuclear discourse, recently declaring nuclear weapons exercises involving the navy and troops stationed close to Ukraine.