Tens of thousands of granite-faced soldiers marched in lockstep across Red Square Monday in Russia's annual Victory Day display of military might, while President Dmitry Medvedev said the country is committed to peace and global stability, the Associated Press reports
The 20,000 troops who strode in precision formation through the vast square outside the Kremlin were followed by more than 100 pieces of mobile military hardware, from armored personnel carriers to lumbering Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, the AP says
Victory Day that Russia celebrates on May 9 marks the final defeat of Nazi Germany by the Soviet Union in World War II. This year, almost 14 million people are expected to attend festive events, including over 100 military parades, in more than 5,300 Russian cities and towns, RIA Novosti says
Victory Day celebrations in Moscow will culminate on Monday with a grand fireworks display consisting of 30 salvoes from 18 guns and 72 launchers, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev addressed the participants and guests at the beginning of the parade.
The first Victory Parade was held on Red Square on June 24, 1945 on the order of the then-Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Stalin.
According to latest studies, the total causalities of the Soviet Union, both soldiers and civilians, were 26.6 million people, of those an estimated 8,668,400 soldiers died.