Russia Holds Delayed Victory Day Parade as Coronavirus Cases Top 600K

Thousands gathered near the Kremlin on Wednesday, June 24, as Russia’s annual Victory Day military parade took place against a backdrop of a national coronavirus outbreak.

This year, the event marked the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi German forces in World War II. The annual celebration usually takes place on May 9, but restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic caused its delay.

Russia reported 7,176 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday – the lowest one-day increase since April, the Moscow Times reported – bringing the country’s reported total to 606,881.

The Victory Day parade also took place a day before the start of an online referendum on changes to the constitution that could allow President Vladimir Putin to rule until 2036.

Before the parade, a mask-free Putin greeted and shook hands with various heads of state, including the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Serbia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, the Kremlin said.

President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov was also expected to attend but instead returned home after two members of his delegation in Moscow tested positive for COVID-19, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Tens of thousands of foot soldiers marched through Red Square during the parade, and new weapons, combat vehicles and equipment were showcased. Credit: Kremlin via Storyful