NATIONAL

Putin denounces military bloc mindset

President Pranab Mukherjee being received by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at Kremlin on Saturday.— PHOTO: Rashtrapati Bhavan

President Pranab Mukherjee being received by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at Kremlin on Saturday.— PHOTO: Rashtrapati Bhavan  

Russia displays military might at Moscow’s Red Square

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

None of Russia’s allies from the war were represented by their leaders at the parade, while in stark contrast it was India and China that sent Presidents Pranab Mukherjee and Xi Jinping, 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 10 at the Kremlin. After an “announcement” of victory, cries of “Hurrahs!” from the soldiers rose in waves.

Several contingents saw soldiers dressed in World War II uniforms and metal helmets.

New age weaponry

The march past was followed by a parade of Russia’s new age weaponry, with 160 military vehicles including tanks, rocket launchers, and armoured carriers. Among them were 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 crowd.

The Aramata is the first new Russian tank to be developed since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

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

Without referring directly to the decision of the U.S., the U.K. 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 a speech.

The U.S. and most of the EU nations had refused to send their leaders, 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 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.



None of Russia’s allies from the war were represented by their leaders



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