International

Putin denounces military bloc mindset

Russia staged a massive display of its military might as tanks rumbled over Moscow’s Red Square and dozens of Sukhoi jets in neat formations flew over the Kremlin as part of the commemoration of Victory Day in World War II in 1945.

But none of Russia’s allies from the war were represented by their leaders at the parade, as in stark contrast it was India and China that sent Presidents, and army contingents to march with the Red Army.

More than 16,000 men including army contingents from India, China, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and other countries marched in the parade. The 75-member contingent of India’s Nine Grenadiers cut an impressive sight with their distinctive headgear and swaying of arms in contrast to the goose-stepping of the former Soviet era.

Enacting the sequence of events on V-day in 1945, the ceremony began as the clock struck ten at the Kremlin. After an “announcement” of victory, waves of Hurrahs were shouted by the soldiers gathered, and several contingents saw soldiers dressed in World War 2 uniforms and metal helmets.

The march-past was then followed by Russia’s new age weaponry, with 160 military vehicles including tanks, rocket launchers, and armoured carriers. Amongst them, Russia’s latest tank, the T-14 Aramata tank — that is set to be inducted in the next few years, the latest Sukhoi Su-30 and Su-35s, and the ‘Yars’ Intercontinental Ballistic missile system that made an entrance to cheers from the crowds. The Aramata is the first new Russian tank to be developed since the Soviet union collapsed in 1991.

After the parade, Russian President Vladimir Putin shook hands with each of the contingent commanders, including Captain Vikas Singh Suhag of the Nine Grenadiers that were participating in an international parade for the first time.

Without referring directly to the decision of the UK, US, and France to boycott Russia’s big parade, President Putin said a “military-bloc mentality” was hindering international cooperation. “In recent decades the basic principles of international co-operation have been ignored ever more frequently. We see how a military-bloc mentality is gaining momentum,” he said in the speech.

The US and most of the EU have refused to send their leaders — who normally attend the parade every decade — as a mark of protest over Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year. Many of the countries in the former Soviet Union also boycotted the event, and in a significant break from the past, Ukraine decided to commemorate the World War II victory, a day prior to Russia’s annual May 9th event, all of which have caused deep anger in the Russian government.

President Pranab Mukherjee will be in Moscow on Sunday to inaugurate an Indo-Russian cultural festival, “Namaste India” and attend a reception for the Indian community before returning to India on Monday.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 11:22:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russia-victory-day/article7188346.ece

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