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Putin’s glamorous troops rehearse for Sunday’s WW2 Victory Day parade 

Preparation for Russia’s extravagant annual victory day parade have been held in Moscow’s Red Square on Friday ahead of the 76th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s surrender and the end of the Second World War.

The huge celebration is held every year on May 9, a day after Western Europe celebrates VE Day on May 8 due to the time difference between Russia and other Soviet Bloc countries, and Central European Time.

Thousands of glamorous soldiers have been pictured during a dress rehearsal for Sunday’s event, which will see the military demonstrate its might in Moscow’s Red Square in front of the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin.

Along with the troops, hundreds of various military vehicles and other deadly weaponry has also been seen rolling through or flying over the famous square, found in the heart of Russia’s capital.

Victory Day in Russia is a national holiday, closing most public offices, schools and businesses, and due to other more Pro-Russian countries broadcasting the Russian president’s victory day speech, the event is one of the world’s most watched occasions of the year.

Russia’s extravagant preparation for its annual victory day parade has been pictured in Moscow’s Red Square on Friday ahead of the 76th anniversary Nazi Germany’s surrender and the end of the Second World War. Pictured: Servicewomen march in formation during a dress rehearsal of a Victory Day military parade marking the 76th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, in Moscow’s Red Square, May 7, 2021

Soviet T-34 tanks during the general rehearsals of the Victory Day Parade at Red Square, on May 7, 2021 in Moscow. Along with the troops, hundreds of various military vehicles and other deadly weaponry has also been seen rolling through or flying over the famous square, found in the heart of Russia's capital

Soviet T-34 tanks during the general rehearsals of the Victory Day Parade at Red Square, on May 7, 2021 in Moscow. Along with the troops, hundreds of various military vehicles and other deadly weaponry has also been seen rolling through or flying over the famous square, found in the heart of Russia’s capital

Servicemen of Russia's Emergencies Ministry march along Red Square in downtown Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade that will be held in front on President Vladimir Putin on Sunday

Servicemen of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry march along Red Square in downtown Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade that will be held in front on President Vladimir Putin on Sunday

Victory Day in Russia is a national holiday, closing most public offices, schools and businesses, and due to other more Pro-Russian countries broadcasting the Russian president's victory day speech, the event is one of the world's most watched occasions of the year. Pictured: Russian soldiers take part in the Victory Day parade rehearsals on Friday

Victory Day in Russia is a national holiday, closing most public offices, schools and businesses, and due to other more Pro-Russian countries broadcasting the Russian president’s victory day speech, the event is one of the world’s most watched occasions of the year. Pictured: Russian soldiers take part in the Victory Day parade rehearsals on Friday

Pictured: Russian military planes fly over Red Square leaving trails of smoke in colours of national flag during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7, 2021. The huge celebration is held every year on May 9, a day after Western Europe celebrates VE Day on May 8 due to the time difference between Russia and other Soviet Bloc countries

Pictured: Russian military planes fly over Red Square leaving trails of smoke in colours of national flag during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7, 2021. The huge celebration is held every year on May 9, a day after Western Europe celebrates VE Day on May 8 due to the time difference between Russia and other Soviet Bloc countries

Russian servicemen march during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade, which marks the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 7, 2021

Russian servicemen march during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade, which marks the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 7, 2021

Russian servicemen march in formation during the Victory Day military parade general rehearsal in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 07 May 2021. Thousands of soldiers have been pictured during a dress rehearsal for Sunday's event, which will see the Russian military demonstrate its strength in Red Square in front of the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin

Russian servicemen march in formation during the Victory Day military parade general rehearsal in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 07 May 2021. Thousands of soldiers have been pictured during a dress rehearsal for Sunday’s event, which will see the Russian military demonstrate its strength in Red Square in front of the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin

The military parade at Red Square is planned for May 9, to commemorate the victory of Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in WWII, despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

The military parade at Red Square is planned for May 9, to commemorate the victory of Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in WWII, despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Russian sailors stand at attention at Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, before a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade. Russia will celebrate the 76th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War

Russian sailors stand at attention at Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, before a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade. Russia will celebrate the 76th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War

Similar celebrations were seen across Russia in major cities on Friday, with a rehearsal also taking place in St. Petersburg, some 620 miles north-west of Moscow.

Last year however, the event was postponed until later in the year due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite it being the significant 75th anniversary of the Nazi surrender in 1945, at 23:01 Central European Time.

For Moscow, which is on Moscow Standard Time, the end to the war in Europe came past midnight, meaning the country celebrates a day later.

Putin ordered for the event to go ahead on June 24, 2020, using around 14,000 soldiers that had already had coronavirus, and thus had developed immunity against the virus.  

This year’s event will not be postponed, although the country is still recording at least 8,000 new infections daily.

Russia’s annual victory parade comes amid Western concerns over a build up of forces on the country’s western border with Ukraine, and as relations between the Kremlin and the west are at their lowest since the Cold War.

Russia in recent weeks has deployed tens of thousands of troops to its borders with Ukraine and on Crimea, which defence minister Sergei Shoigu has said was for ‘training exercises’ in response to ‘threatening’ NATO actions.

Ukraine has been battling pro-Russian separatists in its east since 2014, in a conflict that erupted after Moscow annexed Crimea, after the country’s former Russia-friendly president was driven from power by protests. 

Moscow then threw its weight behind separatists in eastern Ukraine, and the conflict there has killed more than 14,000 people in seven years.   

Tensions have risen in recent weeks with increasing violations of a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and a massive Russian troop buildup along the Ukrainian border. Moscow has rejected Ukraine and Western concerns, arguing that it’s free to deploy its forces and charging that they don’t threaten anyone.

Russian military helicopters fly over the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade that will be held on May 9

Russian military helicopters fly over the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade that will be held on May 9

Russian honor guards march with a flag during the Victory Day military parade general rehearsal in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 07 May 2021

Russian honor guards march with a flag during the Victory Day military parade general rehearsal in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 07 May 2021

Russian servicemen in red berets gather during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 07, 2021

Russian servicemen in red berets gather during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 07, 2021

Cossacks march in formation during the Victory Day military parade general rehearsal in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 07 May 2021

Cossacks march in formation during the Victory Day military parade general rehearsal in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 07 May 2021

Russian servicemen march during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7, 2021

Russian servicemen march during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7, 2021

Russian military cadets march during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7

Russian military cadets march during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7

Russian TOS-1A Solntsepyok multiple rocket launchers roll along Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7, 2021

Russian TOS-1A Solntsepyok multiple rocket launchers roll along Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7, 2021

Russian RS-24 Yarsk (NATO report name: SS29) ballistic missiles complex are driven during the general rehearsals of the Victory Day Parade at Red Square, on May 7, 2021 in Moscow

Russian RS-24 Yarsk (NATO report name: SS29) ballistic missiles complex are driven during the general rehearsals of the Victory Day Parade at Red Square, on May 7, 2021 in Moscow

Russian tanks are driven during the general rehearsals of the Victory Day Parade at Red Square, on May 7, 2021 in Moscow

Russian tanks are driven during the general rehearsals of the Victory Day Parade at Red Square, on May 7, 2021 in Moscow

Sukhoi Su-34, Su-30SM and Su-35S over the Kremlin during the general rehearsals of the Victory Day Parade inf front of the Kremlin at Red Square, on May 7, 2021 in Moscow, Russia

Sukhoi Su-34, Su-30SM and Su-35S over the Kremlin during the general rehearsals of the Victory Day Parade inf front of the Kremlin at Red Square, on May 7, 2021 in Moscow, Russia

Russian military cadets march along Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7, 2021

Russian military cadets march along Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7, 2021

Russian servicewomen march in formation during the Victory Day military parade general rehearsal in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 07 May 2021

Russian servicewomen march in formation during the Victory Day military parade general rehearsal in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 07 May 2021

Military musicians walk in downtown Moscow on May 7, 2021, before a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade

Military musicians walk in downtown Moscow on May 7, 2021, before a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade

The ‘Great Patriotic War’ that saw nearly 30 million people die and nearly brought the USSR to its knees 

The ‘Great Patriotic War’ is used in Russia to describe the conflict between Russia, her allies, and Nazi Germany from June 1941 and May 1945. 

Hitler’s devastating offensive against Russia threatened to annihilate the Soviet Union so the conflict on the Eastern Front is regarded by Russia as its own independent war. 

On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union through Kiev, which had already become a part of the USSR and within one week, around 150,000 Soviet soldiers were wounded or dead. 

When Kiev fell, 600,000 soldiers were captured and by October of the same year, three million Soviet soldiers were prisoners of war.

As his troops marched on the Russia capital, Hitler believed if the Germans won the Battle of Stalingrad he would defeat the USSR, but after nearly a year of fighting one of the bloodiest battles of the war, the Nazis were defeated. 

From this point on the Red Army was able to push back the tide against the Nazi advance. A conservative estimate states around 26 to 30 million, mostly Soviet civilians as well as military personnel, died in the brutal conflict. 

Around 1.5 million civilians and soldiers died, most from starvation during the Siege of Leningrad which saw a blockade last 872 days.

Russia commemorates the German surrender every year on May 9.

Russian servicewomen gather to perform during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 07, 2021

Russian servicewomen gather to perform during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 07, 2021

Russian military servicemen greet the commander of the North-Western military district during a general rehearsal of the Victory Day parade on the Dvortsovaya Square in front of the Hermitage State museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, 07 May 2021

Russian military servicemen greet the commander of the North-Western military district during a general rehearsal of the Victory Day parade on the Dvortsovaya Square in front of the Hermitage State museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, 07 May 2021

A Russian servicemen grins to his fellow soldiers as they perform during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 07, 2021

A Russian servicemen grins to his fellow soldiers as they perform during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 07, 2021

Russian Ilyushin Il-76 planes fly over the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021

Russian Ilyushin Il-76 planes fly over the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021

Russian military servicemen march during general rehearsal of the Victory Day parade on the Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Russia, 07 May 2021

Russian military servicemen march during general rehearsal of the Victory Day parade on the Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Russia, 07 May 2021

Russian police cadets are seen marching during general rehearsal of the Victory Day parade on the Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Russia, 07 May 2021

Russian police cadets are seen marching during general rehearsal of the Victory Day parade on the Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Russia, 07 May 2021

Russian servicemen march in formation during the Victory Day military parade general rehearsal in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 07 May 2021

Russian servicemen march in formation during the Victory Day military parade general rehearsal in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 07 May 2021

Russian servicemen gather to perform during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 07, 2021

Russian servicemen gather to perform during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 07, 2021

Servicemen salute as their vehicles move through Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade

Servicemen salute as their vehicles move through Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade

Russian servicemen line up on Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade

Russian servicemen line up on Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade

Russian servicemen gather during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 07, 2021

Russian servicemen gather during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 07, 2021

Historical T-34 tanks move through Red Square in Moscow on May 7 during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade

Historical T-34 tanks move through Red Square in Moscow on May 7 during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade

Russian sailors march along Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021 ahead of the May 9 celebrations

Russian sailors march along Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021 ahead of the May 9 celebrations

Russian military cadets march during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7

Russian military cadets march during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7

Russian servicemen gather during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 7

Russian servicemen gather during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 7

Russian S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems roll during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7, 2021

Russian S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems roll during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 7, 2021

Russian marching musicians march during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow on Friday

Russian marching musicians march during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow on Friday

Russian honour guards get ready for a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square on May 7, 2021

Russian honour guards get ready for a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square on May 7, 2021

Russian servicemen line up on Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade

Russian servicemen line up on Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade

Russian servicemen line up before a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade, which marks the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 7, 2021

Russian servicemen line up before a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade, which marks the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 7, 2021

Russian servicemen shout on Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade. - Russia will celebrate the 76th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II on May 9

Russian servicemen shout on Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade. – Russia will celebrate the 76th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II on May 9

Russian servicemen shout on Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, as a senior official rides by in a limousine

Russian servicemen shout on Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021, as a senior official rides by in a limousine 

Russian armored vehicles are driven during the general rehearsals of the Victory Day Parade at Red Square, on May 7, Moscow

Russian armored vehicles are driven during the general rehearsals of the Victory Day Parade at Red Square, on May 7, Moscow

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