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President Vladimir Putin greets World War II veterans during the Victory Day celebration on Red Square in Moscow today (official site)
May 9, 2006 -- Russia and other former Soviet states today marked the 61st anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
Thousands of troops marched in Moscow to mark Victory Day, while thousands of communists and leftists took part in rallies of their own.
In a speech at the start of the military parade, Russian President Vladimir Putin used the occasion to warn that neo-Nazis and other nationalist extremists must not be tolerated in Russia.
"Those who are trying again to raise the defeated banners of Nazism -- who sow ethnic strife, extremism, and xenophobia -- are leading the world to a dead end, to senseless bloodshed and cruelty," Putin said. "For this reason, the defeat of fascism must be a lesson and a warning about the inevitability of vengeance."
In Chechnya, official events marked the second anniversary of the assassination of Moscow-backed President Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov, who was killed during a Victory Day celebration in 2004.
In Ukraine, President Viktor Yushchenko called for reconciliation between Ukrainian veterans of the Soviet Army and nationalist militias who at one point fought the Soviets during World War II.
(compiled from agency reports)