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Putin oversees show of Russian military might


The Pantsir air defence system. A KBP Photo

MOSCOW (AFP): Newly inaugurated President Vladimir Putin Wednesday presided over Russias annual display of military power as thousands of troops marched across Red Square to mark victory in World War II.

Two days after Putin's swearing-in, over 14,000 servicemen paraded across the famous cobbles accompanied by nuclear-capable missiles to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Putin watched from the stands alongside his new Prime Minister and former president Dmitry Medvedev, who had been confirmed in his post just the day earlier to cement a job swap scheme first announced in September.

"Sixty-seven years ago Nazism was crushed, a terrible and cynical force," Putin said in a speech from a tribune beside the Lenin Mausoleum, from on top of which Soviet leaders viewed the parade.

The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, was among those watching the parade.

In rousing rhetoric, Putin reinforced Russia's key role in winning World War II and argued that this gave it a "moral right" to stick up for its position in international relations today.

"Russia consistently carries out a politics of strengthening security in the world and we have a great moral right to stand up for our positions in a principled and determined way," he said.

"Because it was our country that took on itself the chief onslaught of Nazism and met it with heroic resistance, went through the harshest trials, defined the outcome of the war," he said.

"We will always be true to your feat," he told veterans.

"And that means we have a future and we will do all that we can to make it peaceful and safe," he said answered by three "hurrahs" from the forces that echoed in a wave of sound around the square.

Columns of around 100 units of military hardware rolled across the square including Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missiles and the vast Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles.

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Russia  Putin  Military  

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