- Russia showed off its military power and equipment in its annual Victory Day celebrations.
- But this year’s parade was much shorter, with less weaponry, fewer troops, and just one tank.
- Experts say Russia is using much of its equipment in Ukraine and also wants to hide military losses.
Russia’s annual Victory Day parade, which is used to show off its military might, was a far more muted affair this year, as it struggles in its invasion of Ukraine.
The annual May 9 Victory Parade, which marks Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany, has in the past featured a huge amount of Russian weaponry, as well as some of its most advanced equipment.
But this year’s event was different, and even before Tuesday’s parades began Russia had cancelled or scaled back many of its events.
Photos from this year compared to previous years show how much the Victory Day parade has changed:
Just one decades-old tank rolled through the streets of Russia’s capital city. The T-34 model was first used in 1940.
In the past, Russia has brought far more firepower to the parade, as can be seen in 2021.
While Russia showed off armored vehicles, air defense systems, and ballistic missiles this year, the parade was shorter than normal. There were just 50 military vehicles this year, compared to 131 in 2021, The Washington Post reported.
Russia also usually releases a list of the equipment it is parading, but it didn’t do so this year.
Meanwhile, Russia’s air force typically stages a large display over Moscow for Victory Day.
In 2016, this included 71 aircraft including Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bombers and Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack planes, the BBC reported.
But there were no air displays this year, with Russia offering no explanation for the absence.
Russia has cancelled air displays in the past, citing bad weather, but the weather was clear on Thursday.
Last year’s parade also didn’t feature any aircrafts, with Russia blaming bad weather, despite sunny forecasts.
The 2023 parade had around 8,000 troops, the BBC reported, down from previous years.
The parade had around 11,000 troops in 2022, and roughly 13,000 in 2019.
Experts said Russia likely wanted smaller celebrations this year to try to hide military losses in Ukraine, and noted that Russia needs much of its equipment and soldiers to stay in the fight.
Putin didn’t join in
In past parades, Putin has taken part in the Immortal Regiment march in Moscow. The event is for remembrance, with millions typically taking part across Russia.
But the Moscow event was cancelled this year. The Kremlin blamed the potential of attacks by Ukraine.
The UK Ministry of Defence, meanwhile, suggested that Russian authorities were more likely worried that “participants would highlight the scope of recent Russian losses” in Ukraine.