Overshadowed by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the traditional military parade marking the 78th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany has begun in Moscow. Under high security precautions, thousands of soldiers marched on Red Square on Tuesday in sunny spring weather. The appearance of President Vladimir Putin, who is expected to once again justify the war he has ordered in Ukraine, is particularly eagerly awaited.

According to official figures, a total of more than 10,000 soldiers will be deployed and 125 units of military technology will be shown. Contrary to what was originally announced, a number of foreign heads of state and government are now guests in the official gallery, including from the ex-Soviet republics of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Armenia.

Earlier it was reported that Moscow had tightened security measures ahead of the celebrations of the 78th anniversary. Last week, two drones crashed over the Kremlin compound at night. Russia then spoke of an attempted attack on Putin and blamed Ukraine for it. The neighboring country, which has been defending itself against a Russian war of aggression for more than 14 months, rejected the accusation. Several international observers also believe that Russia may have staged the alleged attack attempt itself. In this context, there had also been speculation about whether the military parade might be cancelled.

The traditional march "Immortal Regiment", which is usually held after the parade and in which Putin was also present in 2022, has already been cancelled in Moscow. Peskov now admitted that this was done due to security concerns. He also left open whether there would be an air show or whether it would be cancelled as in the previous year.

Russian media also reported that in a total of more than 20 cities, the parades had been canceled because the authorities could not guarantee security. In addition to the drone incident at the Kremlin, there has recently been an increase in suspected partisan attacks in other Russian regions, for example on freight transports and oil refineries.