Russia marks Victory Day with coronavirus-reduced ceremony, Belarus with full fervour

WION Web Team
Moscow City, Moscow, Russia Published: May 09, 2020, 05:43 PM(IST)

Victory Day in Russia Photograph:( AFP )

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In Russia, the celebrations, however, were shorn of the usual Red Square military parade and a mass procession called The Immortal Regiment as part of measures to stifle the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Russia President Vladimir Putin marked Victory Day, the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, in a ceremony dampened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Soviet Union lost an estimated 26 million people including 8.5 million soldiers in the war.

Putin on Saturday laid flowers at the tomb of the unknown soldier just outside the Kremlin walls and gave a short address honouring the valour and suffering of the Soviet army during the war. In his speech, Putin did not mention coronavirus.

Victory Day is Russia's most important secular holiday. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the remarkable day. The celebrations, however, were shorn of the usual Red Square military parade and a mass procession called The Immortal Regiment as part of measures to stifle the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Some 75 warplanes and helicopters, however, flew over central Moscow as the conventional show of military might.

In stark contrast, the ceremonies went ahead in full attendance in neighbouring Belarus.

A full military parade of some 3,000 soldiers was held Saturday in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, which has not imposed restrictions to block the virus' spread despite sharply rising infection figures.

Earlier in the day, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier described May 8 as the day Germany, too, was liberated from Nazi dictatorship.

Russia has so far reported 1,98,676 coronavirus cases and 1,827 deaths.

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