Western media announced that regarding the 70th anniversary of victory over Germany in World War II, Moscow had thrown the biggest military parade since the Soviet Union collapse, and they stress the warning of President Vladimir Putin that the US wants unipolar world.
News agencies, such as AP, AFP, Reuters, radio BBC, journal the Guardian, also point out that boycott of western countries’ leaders, regarding the role Russia is playing in the Ukrainian crisis, threw a shadow over the celebration.
AP highlights that regarding the 70th anniversary since the defeat of fascism, thousands of soldiers paraded across the Red Square, but the ceremony was boycotted by the majority of western leaders because of the role of Russia in the Ukrainian crisis.
The agency states that Victory day is the most important secular holiday in Russia, commemorating the enormous sacrifice of the Soviet Union during the war. It is also being used as an opportunity to show off the country as the force which is promoting peace and security.
Today’s parade is the biggest since the Soviet Union collapse
AP states that the Russian President Vladimir Putin used this opportunity to encourage patriotism and the same time to inflame anti-western mood. Simultaneously, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow in Kiev for trying to seize credit for the victory in World War II at Ukraine’s expense. Although western leaders were absent, presidents or prime ministers from 30 countries, including the President of China Xi Jinping, who was sitting next to Putin, joined Russian president. A Chinese unit marched across the central square in Moscow as well, indicating close relations between two leaders.
The agency says that German chancellor Angela Merkel missed the parade as well as the President of the US, Barack Obama, and the leaders of Britain and France. The agency also says that Merkel will be in Moscow tomorrow and she will lay wreaths at the monument of the Unknown Soldier.
AP especially emphasizes that the new Russian tank “Armata T-14”, numerous other weapons and techniques have been shown off at the parade. Many soldiers wore uniforms like the ones used during World War II. Veterans watched the parade and their chests shined because of the medals, while Muscovites and other people filled the streets around the square enthusiastically welcoming overflights of fighter jets over the city center.
“Victory day is of great importance for Russia. Practically, every single Russian family has someone who died fighting for their country”, AP cites 43-year old former member of the Marine Corps, Alexander Smolkin.
Putin in his speech warned of the revival of fascism, as well as of the attempts of some countries to revise history and downplay Russia’s victory.
“The basic principles of international cooperation are being increasingly ignored over the last decades. Those are the principles that humanity has won with struggles during the war”, Putin warned, pointing out to the attempts of creating a unipolar world.
AP also says that Putin later during the parade led “Immortal Regiment” march together with people who held photographs of their relatives killed during the war. The president himself held the photograph of his father.
According to the police, there were 250,000 people on the streets, which is unheard-off in the recent history of Russia.
The agency notes that many Russians interpret the boycott by western leaders as a sign of disrespect.
It is estimated that 27 million Soviets were killed during World War II. Ukraine claims to have lost from 8 to 10 million of citizens, of whom 3.5 million were in the Soviet Army. With an intention to distance itself from Moscow, Ukraine joined most European countries and celebrated Victory day on Friday, the day before Russia.
During today’s ceremony in Kiev, Poroshenko said that Ukraine will never again celebrate this day following Russian scenario.
Decision of western leaders to boycott the ceremony in Moscow, emphasizes disagreement between Russia and the West about Ukraine.
While the sanctions of the West against Russia are still valid, Russia itself is increasingly turning away from Europe and focuses on cooperation with China, according to AP.
French agency states that western leaders used their boycott of the parade to punish Russia because of its interference in Ukraine, leaving Putin to celebrate Victory day with the leaders of China, Cuba and other countries sympathetic to Moscow.
Putin, however, decided to ignore the boycott in his speech, thanking the United Kingdom, France and the US for their contribution to the victory over Germany. AFP also highlights Putin’s warning of the dangers of a unipolar world, referring to the behavior of the US.
The agency says that he hasn’t mentioned the Ukrainian crisis, not even once. Later, at the reception, Putin said that international relations should be guided by the spirit of allied partnership, just like during the war.
AFP says that American actor Steven Seagal also attended the parade. Media announced that this actor partially has Russian origin and that Putin reportedly invited him once to mediate between Russia and the US.
French agency also reminds of the losses of the Soviet Union during the war and points out that the triumph of the Red Army even today represents a source of national pride and that Victory day bridges divisions among Russians.
The agency cites the words of 72-year old Lyudmila Yurkova, who also took part at the parade and who says that Europe has forgotten that the Soviet Union won the war.
BBC reports that Russia held the biggest military parade marking 70 years of victory over Nazi Germany and that Ukrainian events were the reason for western leaders boycott.
The Guardian puts an emphasis on Putin’s message that the US is trying to create a unipolar world and to control it.