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Watch: Russia marks Victory Day, emboldened by Ukraine war gains

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Russia on Thursday marks the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, as relations with the West spiral deeper into crisis over the advance of Russian troops against Ukraine’s Western-backed forces.

President Vladimir Putin, who rose to power just eight years after the Soviet Union broke up, spoke at the Victory Day parade on Red Square in Moscow.

Parades take place in major cities across Russia’s 11 timezones.

The Moscow parade traditionally features columns of Russian military equipment, including advanced missiles and air defence systems, as well as thousands of military personnel dressed in ceremonial attire.

Unlike some of the parades of the past, there will be no leaders from the West. Russia said ambassadors of “unfriendly” countries – broadly the West and those who support Ukraine – had not been invited to the parade.

The 71-year-old Putin is buoyed by his troops’ advances in Ukraine and a fresh six-year mandate in office after winning elections in March.

Russia’s army held off a much-hyped Ukrainian counteroffensive last year, and it has since made gains on the front lines as Kyiv struggles with ammunition and manpower shortages.

The Russian president has repeatedly framed the current fight against Ukraine as an existential battle against “Nazism”.

Russian officials have warned that the Ukraine war is entering the most dangerous phase to date – Putin has repeatedly warned of the risk of a much broader war involving the world’s biggest nuclear powers.

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