Victory Day parades are being held in 26 cities across Russia on Saturday.
World leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon are in Moscow to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a number of bilateral meetings on Saturday with international leaders, who arrived in Moscow to attend the celebrations, Yury Ushakov, a Russian presidential aide, said.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said the military parade at the Red Square in downtown Moscow, will be the largest since the fall of the former Soviet Union in 1991.
The mechanized section will involve 194 units of armaments and military equipment, some of which will be displayed for the first time. The aerial section will include 143 jets and helicopters of the Russian Air Force.
Over 16,000 soldiers will march across the Red Square, a 50-per cent increase from the parade in 2010.
More than a dozen countries, including BRICS members India and China, are sending their military units to take part in the victory parade at the Red Square on May 9th.
Although most Western historians believe that 22 million Soviets died in the Great Patriotic War, Russian sources put the number higher – at 27 million people.
Russia’s Red Army lost 8.5 million troops – a figure comparable only with German losses. Another 18 million were civilians who died as a result of Hitler’s genocide.
TBP and Agencies