Today, Russia held its annual May 9 Victory Day parade on Red Square in Moscow to commemorate the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
The parade involved more than 10,000 military personnel, 135 ground vehicles, and 71 aircraft including military hardware currently deployed to Syria, where Russia has been actively intervening in the ongoing conflict on the side of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (A small Victory Day parade also took place on Russia’s Khmeimim air base in Latakia, Syria, The Moscow Times reports.)
The parade featured, T-14 Armata main battle tanks (allegedly already in serial production), third-generation T-90A tanks, new 8×8 wheeled BTR-82A armored personnel carriers, BMP-3 infantry combat vehicles, and GAZ Tigr multipurpose all-terrain infantry vehicles.
In addition, the parade included 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled howitzers, medium and long-range S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems, Buk-M2, and Pantsyr S-1 air defense missile systems, tactical Iskander-M ballistic missile systems, as well as road-mobile Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles, fitted with up to 10 independently targetable warheads per missile.
“The Mi-26, the world’s largest military transport helicopter, opened the airborne part of the parade,” according to the Kremlin news service. “It was accompanied by four Mi-8AMTSh helicopters, known as the ‘Terminator’, and they were followed by the Mi-28H Night Hunter, the Ka-52 Alligator, and the Mi-35.”
An unknown number of Mi-28H Night Hunter gunships are currently operating in Syria.
For the first time Russia’s new Il-76MD-90A military transport plane also took part in the parade.
“Other aircraft to fly over Red Square included the An-124–100 Ruslan, Su-24 and Su-34 bombers, Su-25 attack planes, the MiG-29 and Su-27 fighter aircraft, the new multipurpose Su-35C fighter planes, the MiG-31 interceptor aircraft, the Il-78 refueling tanker, and the Tu-22M3, Tu-95MS and Tu-160 long-range bombers,” the Kremlin reports.
“Comrades, history lessons teach us that peace on Earth is not established by itself; that one needs to be cautious; that double standards as well as shortsighted indulgence of those who nurture criminal plans are impermissible,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin in his opening remarks today.
“Today, civilization is again facing cruelty and violence: terrorism has become a global threat. We must defeat this evil; Russia is open to joining efforts with all states and is ready to work on creating a modern, non-aligned system of international security,” he added.
Today’s military parade was the least expensive in four years, costing an estimated $3.23 million, according to Russian media reports. (The Kremlin also spent $1.3 million to disperse the clouds over Moscow for the day. )
Russia’s ongoing financial difficulties have only marginally impacted the so-called 2011-2020 State Armament Program. However, Russia’s defense budget is slate to increase a mere 0.8 percent this year and in the long run, Russia will not be able to sustain current military expenditure levels.