Despite steadily mounting infections from the coronavirus in Russia, President Vladimir Putin has so far refused to cancel a massive parade celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Soviet triumph Nazi Germany.
The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation also announced that it will involve 55 planes and 20 helicopters: 75 aircraft in total to mark the 75th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War, including four Kinzhal systems and four Su-57.
The TASS said on Tuesday the group will also comprise a Beriev A-50 early warning and control aircraft, Il-76 transport planes, Tu-95MS and Tu-160 strategic bombers, Tu-22M3 long-range strategic and maritime strike bombers, Su-24 and Su-34 attack aircraft. A Tu-160 plane and an Il-78 tanker will simulate aerial refueling during the parade.
The group will also include MiG-29, Su-30 and Su-35S fighter jets, as well as Mi-26, Mi-8, Ka-52, Mi-35 and Mi-28N helicopters.
On Monday, the first joint ground and air rehearsal of the May 9 V-Day parade took place at the Alabino training ground near Moscow.
Earlier, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there had been no decisions to change the plans for the May 9 V-Day parade in Moscow in view of the coronavirus risks, but the situation continues to be monitored closely. A final decision whether to hold the festive events on the occasion of the 75th V-Day anniversary has not been made yet, he said. The Kremlin will thoroughly examine all circumstances. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, too, said earlier that preparations for the parade proceeded as expected and there had been no decisions to change the date or agenda.
However, on April 6, The Guardian reported that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is supposed to host France’s Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders at a military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the second world war. The event is a significant historical landmark for Russia and a coveted photo opportunity to claim Putin’s re-emergence from political isolation in the west.
Victory Day is the most important public event remaining in Russia’s calendar. Western leaders have snubbed the parade since 2014, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. Moscow’s alleged meddling in the US presidential elections and the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018 have made relations even chillier.