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6 May, 2014 16:27

Victory Day parade in Moscow to showcase 69 aircraft, record number of military vehicles

Victory Day parade in Moscow to showcase 69 aircraft, record number of military vehicles

A total of 69 warplanes and helicopters, 149 military vehicles and over 11,000 troops will feature in Moscow’s Red Square parade on May 9 to mark the 69th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

“Sixty-nine planes and helicopters from the Russian Air Force will fly over Red Square on May 9. The number symbolizes the 69th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. A total of 17 aviation groups will be employed during the parade,” Russian Air Force spokesman Col. Igor Klimov told RIA-Novosti.

Guests on Red Square and a worldwide TV audience will witness Su-24M and Su-34 bombers, Su-25 strike aircraft, Su-27 and MiG-29 fighter jets, MiG-31BM interceptors and military transport aircraft, refueling planes and military helicopters.

The renowned aerobatic groups, the Russian Knights (Russkiye Vityazi) and the Swifts (Strizhi), will participate in the May 9 celebration in the city of Sevastopol in Crimea, the groups said on their websites.

In Moscow, they will be replaced with four Mi-35M attack helicopters, which will debut at the Red Square parade, and five Su-25 jet fighters to maintain the previously announced number of 69 planes participating.

The mechanized column of 149 units appearing will set a record for the number of military vehicles taking part in the parade since the fall of USSR in 1991.

Tor-M2U antiaircraft missile systems, armored KamAZ-63968 ‘Typhoon’ combat cars, Khrizantema-S antitank missile systems and as well as modernized self-propelled artillery guns 2S19M2 Msta-S will be showcased on Red Square.

The parade will also see the reappearance of armored GAZ -2330 ‘Tiger’ combat cars, BTR- 80 and BTR-82A armored vehicles, T-90A tanks and various antiaircraft missile and ballistic missile systems.

Russian servicemen march during a rehearsal for the Victory parade on Moscow's Red Square May 5, 2014 (Reuters)

The honor to bear the historic Victory Banner, which was raised by the Soviet troops in Berlin in May 1945, was given to the Preobrazhensky Regiment, who will be followed by over 11,000 officers and soldiers representing all the branches of the Russian military.

An innovation at this year’s parade will be the participation of Special Forces units, which will be armed with Val silent machine guns and VSS Vintorez sniper rifles.

The infantry will march across the 256 meters of Red Square at the traditional pace of 110 to 120 steps per minute.

Victory Day is one of the most important holidays for Russia, as it marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War on May 9, 1945.

The first parade to commemorate the WWII victory was staged on Red Square on June 24, 1945, by order of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

The Soviet Union paid the highest price of any nation for this victory and lost over 26 million lives in the conflict, known as the Great Patriotic War in the former USSR.

Military parades were held annually on Red Square on May 9, beginning on the 20th anniversary of the victory in 1965. The tradition was dropped for some years after the collapse of the USSR, in the beginning of the turbulent 90s. However, the tradition was revived again in 1995, and has been followed ever since.