Russia shows off artillery used for war in Syria at the Red Square
Russia rolled out an air defense missile system of the kind used to protect its base in Syria and some of the Russian jets flying missions there screamed overhead as it showcased its military war machine on Moscow’s Red Square on Monday.
The grand parade, an annual fixture commemorating the Soviet Union’s victory over the Nazis in World War Two, took place in bright sunshine as President Vladimir Putin looked on from a tribune filled with Soviet war veterans, some of whom wore rows of campaign medals and clutched red roses.
The Russian leader, whose forces annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014 and are now helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army, watched as thousands of troops marched across the cobbled square to the strains of martial music.
The authorities, backed by state media, use the event to encourage patriotism, reinforce national identity, for geopolitical point scoring, and to underscore the importance of having a strong military to protect the country’s borders.
“It (the commemoration) has become a symbol of sacred closeness between Russia and its people,” Putin told the parade. “And in such unity and loyalty to the motherland lies our strength, our confidence, and our dignity.”
The Kremlin also now uses the event to show how a multi-billion dollar modernization program is changing the face of the Russian military with new weapons and hardware.
Some politicians in former Soviet republics or satellite states regard the parade as crude sabre-rattling by a resurgent Russia they say poses a threat to Europe’s security. Russia dismisses such allegations as nonsense.
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