New additions & battle-proven hardware on display as Russia marks 75th anniversary of Nazi defeat with military parade (PHOTOS)
The centrepiece of Russia’s rescheduled Victory Day celebrations, marking the historic defeat of Hitler's Germany 75 years ago, featured a show of military prowess both on the ground in Red Square and in the skies over Moscow.
Deferred from its traditional May 9 slot due to the coronavirus pandemic, the annual event began on Wednesday morning, unfolding in front of war veterans, foreign dignitaries, and Russian VIPs.
Troops from India, China, Serbia, Mongolia, alongside those from a wide range of ex-Soviet nations - whose people also contributed to the shared victory - marched through the iconic Red Square.
As many as 14,000 Russian soldiers from all branches of the military and related bodies had been readying themselves for the parade.
In a symbolic nod to their heroic predecessors, some were dressed in World War Two-era uniforms.
On display was a host of restored T-34s – the renowned workhorse of the Soviet Army’s armored corps, and arguably the best tank of its time.
Retro hardware aside, there were novelties too. An upgraded version of the modern T-90, fitted with a new turret and battle gear, rolled through the center of Moscow.
The T-14 Armata, the Russian military’s most advanced main battle tank, was also present, as was a vehicle designed to protect it on the battlefield.
Going by the telling name Terminator, the heavy tank support unit is armed with twin 30mm cannons, four missiles, grenade launchers and machine guns.
Another newcomer was the Tosochka – a lighter yet more powerful variant of the heavy TOS-1 flamethrower. The latter also featured at the event.
While the blue-chip vehicles Armata and Kurganets-25 are not new to the parade, on Wednesday they were showcased with medium-caliber cannons and rocket launchers mounted atop their brand-new combat modules.
Rocket launchers big and small, ranging from air defense systems to the heavy Yars ICBM carrier, made an appearance as well.
Unlike the 2019 Victory Day parade, when bad weather prohibited the much-anticipated aerial flypast over the city, this year’s edition featured a tremendous air show that started shortly after the armored column passed.
The main star was the Su-57 – a secretive stealth fighter jet set to enter service with the air force in the near future. The aircraft, already tested during the military campaign in Syria, will replace the older-generation Su-35 and Su-30, which also graced the skies over Moscow today in great numbers.
Heavyweights such as the iconic Tu-95 and Tu-160 also flew over Red Square. The latter is about to get a crucial upgrade, allowing it to meet the demands of 21st-century warfare.
In total, more than 230 units of military hardware roared through Red Square and 75 aircraft – both planes and helicopters – flew over the iconic venue.
The 2020 celebration’s June 24 slot appears to have been chosen in a symbolic reference to the first victory parade held in 1945 on the same date. That historic event featured troops immediately after their return from a defeated Germany. Many of them had survived the bloodiest battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, as well as campaigns to liberate Eastern Europe.Also on rt.com Moscow marks 75 years since victory over Nazis with traditional parade on Red Square (FULL VIDEO)
Smaller Victory Day parades have also taken place in Russia’s other major cities. However, many limited or postponed their festivities, citing health concerns.
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