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Putin Sets Date For Delayed World War II Victory Parade

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a flower-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on May 9 in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a flower-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on May 9 in Moscow.

Russia will hold a military parade next month to mark the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II even as the country continues to report thousands of new coronavirus infections each day.

President Vladimir Putin set the new date for June 24 and ordered Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to begin preparations.

"Risks for all its participants should be minimized, and better, eliminated," Putin told Shoigu during a virtual government meeting on May 26.

Russia traditionally holds the annual parade on May 9 -- known inside the country as Victory Day -- with a grand celebration that includes dozens of military vehicles passing through the center of Moscow as thousands of spectators crowd along the streets to watch.

However, Putin announced in April he would postpone the parade until a later date as the country struggled to contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

His April decision came a day after veterans groups urged the Kremlin to call off the event over health and safety concerns.

Though Russia has experienced a drop in new coronavirus cases, the number remains elevated. Russia reported another 8,915 cases on May 26, bringing the national tally to more than 362,000, the third-largest globally.

Russian authorities say the large number of infections reflects a massive national testing program.

Officials said the same day that 174 people had died over the previous 24 hours, a record one-day number of fatalities, bringing the overall death toll to 3,807.

The new June 24 parade date falls on the same day 75 years ago when Soviet troops paraded on Red Square to mark the Nazis' defeat.

Putin also said during the May 26 government meeting that the march of citizens holding portraits of their relatives who took part in World War II -- known in Russia as the Immortal Regiment -- as well as the traditional naval-forces parade will take place on July 26.

Those events had also been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After Putin announced the new date, Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev and Moldovan President Igor Dodon said they would attend the military parade on Red Square.

With reporting by Dozhd, TASS, RIA Novosti, and Reuters
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