Moscow kicks off annual military parade amid Ukraine crisis

Russian servicemen and cadets march with portraits of relatives who took part in World War 2 during a parade to mark Victory day in Vladivostok on May 9, 2014. Thousands of Russian troops on Friday marched in Red Square to mark 69 years since victory
Russian servicemen and cadets march with portraits of relatives who took part in World War 2 during a parade to mark Victory day in Vladivostok on May 9, 2014. Thousands of Russian troops on Friday marched in Red Square to mark 69 years since victory in World War II in a show of military might amid tensions in Ukraine following Moscow's annexation of Crimea. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - Thousands of Russian troops on Friday marched in Red Square to mark 69 years since victory in World War II in a show of military might amid tensions in Ukraine following Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

About 11,000 servicemen were taking part in the annual Victory Day parade which began with the massed troops marching to the sound of brass bands as President Vladimir Putin watched from the stands, flanked by veterans.