Russia marks Victory Day

Published May 9, 2014
A Russian Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile launcher drives at the Red Square in Moscow. – Photo by AFP
A Russian Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile launcher drives at the Red Square in Moscow. – Photo by AFP
Russian marines carry national flags during a Victory Day military parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in Sevastopol, Russia, on Friday, May 9. – Photo by AP
Russian marines carry national flags during a Victory Day military parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in Sevastopol, Russia, on Friday, May 9. – Photo by AP
Russian marines carry national flag as local residents gather along the street during a Victory Day military parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in Sevastopol, Russia, on Friday, May 9. – Photo by AP
Russian marines carry national flag as local residents gather along the street during a Victory Day military parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in Sevastopol, Russia, on Friday, May 9. – Photo by AP
A man waves a communists flag in front of the monument of Soviet Union founder Vladimir Lenin, during a Victory Day celebration, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in the center of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine. – Photo by AP
A man waves a communists flag in front of the monument of Soviet Union founder Vladimir Lenin, during a Victory Day celebration, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in the center of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine. – Photo by AP
Russian World War Two veteran Alexey Samokhin (Centre), 89, carries a red flag as he leads a procession during the Victory Day celebration in Divnogorsk, near Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, May 9. – Photo by Reuters
Russian World War Two veteran Alexey Samokhin (Centre), 89, carries a red flag as he leads a procession during the Victory Day celebration in Divnogorsk, near Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, May 9. – Photo by Reuters
People carrying portraits of deceased relatives who took part in World War Two, march in a parade during Victory Day commemorations in the town of Divnogorsk, near Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. – Photo by Reuters
People carrying portraits of deceased relatives who took part in World War Two, march in a parade during Victory Day commemorations in the town of Divnogorsk, near Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. – Photo by Reuters
Russian military planes fly above the Kremlin during the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square. – Photo by Reuters
Russian military planes fly above the Kremlin during the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square. – Photo by Reuters
Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks at the Red Square in Moscow. – Photo by AFP
Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks at the Red Square in Moscow. – Photo by AFP
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (2nd Left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (3rd Left) attend a Victory Day parade at the Red Square in Moscow, on May 9, 2014. – Photo by AFP
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (2nd Left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (3rd Left) attend a Victory Day parade at the Red Square in Moscow, on May 9, 2014. – Photo by AFP
Russian Air Force helicopter Mi-26, center, with Mi-8, flies over Red Square during a Victory Day parade. – Photo by AP
Russian Air Force helicopter Mi-26, center, with Mi-8, flies over Red Square during a Victory Day parade. – Photo by AP

Thousands of Russian troops marched today in Red Square to mark 69 years since their victory in World War II in a show of military might amid tensions in Ukraine following Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

Putin's surprise call on Wednesday for delaying the referendum in eastern Ukraine appeared to reflect Russia's desire to distance itself from the separatists as it bargains with the West over a settlement to the Ukrainian crisis.

But insurgents in the Russian-speaking east defied Putin's call and said they would go ahead with the referendum.

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