MOSCOW • Russia rolled out its latest military hardware in Moscow's Red Square yesterday for the annual parade to mark Soviet victory over Nazi Germany as President Vladimir Putin begins his fourth Kremlin term.
"Our people fought to the death. Not one country faced such an invasion," Mr Putin said in a speech as veterans and some 13,000 troops marched past in a perfectly choreographed military spectacle marking 73 years since victory in World War II.
Much of the new equipment on display has been tested out in Syria, the Defence Ministry said. Altogether, the parade featured 159 types of hardware, including 75 aircraft.
For the first time, the parade included drones, which were wheeled across the square on trailers, as well as a demining robot used by the military in Syria's Palmyra and Aleppo and an unmanned tank. There was even a snowmobile to be used by Arctic units.
The major new equipment on display included a Terminator tank designed to be used in war zones involving nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, and a MiG-31 supersonic interceptor jet carrying a high-precision Kinzhal (Dagger) missile.
Mr Putin presented the Kinzhal missile system in March during his state of the nation address, saying it could "overcome all existing and, I think, prospective air and missile defence systems".
A pair of SU-57 stealth fighter planes, a fifth generation jet reportedly tested in Syria, also took part in the flypast.
Mr Putin reviewed the parade from a tribune packed with Soviet war veterans, some of whom wore rows of campaign medals and clutched red roses.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Moscow for talks on Syria, was also present, as was Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
The authorities, backed by state media, use the event to boost patriotic feeling and show the world and potential buyers of military hardware how a multibillion dollar modernisation programme is changing the face of the Russian military.
Mr Putin, whose relations with the West are on a hostile trajectory, has said he does not want an arms race, while warning potential enemies that his country has developed a new generation of invincible weapons to protect itself just in case.
"We remember the tragedies of the two world wars, about the lessons of history which do not allow us to become blind. The same old ugly traits are appearing along with new threats: egoism, intolerance, aggressive nationalism and claims to exceptionalism," Mr Putin said, addressing the parade.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS