Russia parades tanks and missiles on streets of Moscow ahead of Victory Day celebration

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
Russian service members walk as military vehicles drive along a street during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia May 4, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina
Russian service members walk as military vehicles drive along a street during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow. (Reuters)

Russia is in the midst of rehearsals for their Victory Day parade, showing off their arsenal of missiles, tanks and military prowess as their attempted invasion of Ukraine continues.

Thousands of troops are set to march through the Red Square on 9 May for the 77th annual ceremony to commemorate Russia's efforts in the Second World War.

It comes more than two months after Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine in an offensive which Ukrainian authorities claim has killed around 25,000 Russian troops.

They also claim to have destroyed thousands of pieces of Russian equipment, including planes, tanks, cruise missiles and even warships.

In Moscow, Putin's forces are showing off what else they have at their disposal in its annual military show of strength, with thousands preparing to march carrying hammer and sickle flags in reminder of the past of the Soviet Union.

A child holds a flag as Russian service members drive a tank along a street during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia May 4, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina
A child holds a flag as Russian service members drive a tank along a street. (Reuters)
Russian service members drive tanks along a street during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia May 4, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina
Russian service members drive tanks along a street during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow. (Reuters)

The skies are also set to become part of the stage for the ceremony, with fighter jets forming a "Z" formation – the symbol painted on the vehicles involved in the Ukraine invasion.

The Russian air force will use eight MiG-29 jets to form the symbol that is now synonymous with the war.

The rehearsal also saw the Ilyushin Il-80 take to the skies – a modified passenger jet which has become known as Putin's "doomsday plane" as it would be where he would take control if nuclear war was to break out.

Some Western officials have warned that the parade could see Putin make a major announcement concerning Ukraine – potentially using it to declare a global war on Nazis and mass mobilise his people.

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 4: Russian military vehicles move along Tverskaya street during the rehearsal of Victory Day military parade marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 4, 2022. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Last week, the UK defence secretary warned that Russia could used the Victory Day parade to increase the threat of Nazism in an attempt to mass mobilise his people. (Getty)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 4: Russian military vehicles move along Tverskaya street during the rehearsal of Victory Day military parade marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 4, 2022. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
There had been rumours that Russia might use the day to declare an official war on Ukraine. (Getty)

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace said last week: "He is probably going to declare on May Day that 'we are now at war with the world's Nazis and we need to mass mobilise the Russian people'.

"Putin, having failed in nearly all objectives, may seek to consolidate what he's got... and just be a sort of cancerous growth within the country."

There had been rumours that Russia might use the day to declare an official war on Ukraine - though the Kremlin has denied these reports, saying there is "no chance" they will use the day for that purpose and branding it "nonsense".

What is the Victory Day parade?

Victory Day is a public holiday for Russians to remember those who were killed during the Second World War.

Troops parade across Moscow’s Red Square to mark the Soviet Union's role in the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945 and the Kremlin also shows off its military arsenal, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Last year, over 12,000 troops took part and more than 190 pieces of military hardware including more than 80 military aircraft were displayed for all to see.

Putin usually oversees the pomp of the traditional march from an area packed with war veterans.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 4: Russian jet fighters fly over the Kremlin on May 4, 2022 in Moscow, Russia. Rehearsals are underway as Russia prepares to celebate Victory Day on May 9. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)
Russian jet fighters fly over the Kremlin in the 'Z' formation - a symbol now synonmyous with the war. (Getty)
ALABINO, RUSSIA - ARRIL 18: (RUSSIA OUT) The Ilyushin IL-80 (NATO reporting name: Maxdome), an airbond command and control aircraft, followed by two Mikoyan MIG-29 jet fighters fly over the polygon during the rehearsals for the Victory Day Military Parade at the polygon, on April 18, 2022 in Alabino, outside of Moscow, Russia. About 12,000 soldiers and officers are expected to take pat at the Red Square Victory Day Military Parade, planned on May 9. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)
The Ilyushin IL-80 – known as Vladimir Putin's 'doomsday plane' – is seen flying in rehersals. (Getty)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 07: Russian fighter jets perform during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 07, 2021. Russia will celebrate the 76th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II on May 9. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Russian fighter jets mark the Russian flag in the sky. (Getty)

This year's parade comes at a time when Russia has seen its troops repelled from significant parts of Ukraine following an invasion that is widely believed to be going badly for Moscow.

In recent weeks, Russian soldiers have mounted a fresh offensive on the south east of the country, trying to take control of the Donbas.

There have been reports that Russian forces are planning on staging their own Victory Day parade in the southern city of Mariupol which has been largely taken over by Russian forces.

Watch: Downed Russian helicopter pulled from Kyiv reservoir

The Ukrainian Military Intelligence (GUR) said in a statement published on Telegram that the city "will become the centre of celebrations".

"The main avenues of the city are [being] urgently cleaned, the debris and the bodies of the dead removed, as well as the ammunition which did not explode," it added.

The GUR described the parade as part of a "large-scale propaganda campaign" which will attempt to influence the 120,000 people who have remained in the destroyed city, which has been under siege for the best part of two months.

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