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Putin calls for ‘invincible’ unity on Victory Day


President Vladimir Putin told Russians they are “invincible” when they stand together as the country on Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II on lockdown from the coronavirus.

With the number of virus cases surging and authorities urging Russians to stay in their homes, celebrations of this year’s Victory Day were muted after the Kremlin grudgingly agreed to postpone plans for a grand parade with world leaders.

Instead of columns of military hardware and thousands of troops parading through Red Square as planned, Putin walked alone to lay flowers at the Eternal Flame outside the red brick walls of the Kremlin.

In a solemn televised speech, he made no mention of the virus, despite Russia having the fifth-highest number of confirmed infections in the world, with nearly 200,000 cases as of Saturday. 

But Putin highlighted the sacrifices made by the Soviet Union in what Russians call the Great Patriotic War and hinted at the threat now facing the country.

“Our veterans fought for life, against death. And we will always be equal to their unity and endurance,” Putin said.

“We know and firmly believe that we are invincible when we stand together.” 

A ceremonial honor guard marched past Putin after his speech, as Russian television showed images of Red Square empty nearby.


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