Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, has warned at a military parade in Red Square that Moscow will teach foreign aggressors the “lessons” of the Second World War.
Nuclear missile launchers and battle tanks were driven through the centre of Moscow, while air force bombers flew above the city’s skyline, as Russia celebrated victory over Nazi Germany 64 years ago. Mr Medvedev ordered the Soviet-style parade of might to remind the world that Russia remained a powerful military force.
With Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, standing beside him, Mr Medvedev told thousands of troops drawn up on the cobbles of Red Square that Russia still faced external threats to its security.
“The victory over fascism is a great example and a great lesson for all people and is still current today when people are again starting military adventures,” he said.
The president’s comments seemed to be primarily directed at Georgia, with which Russia fought a five-day war last year, but could also be a coded warning to the United States, some observers said. Washington is planning to build a missile defence shield in central Europe, a project that has been repeatedly condemned in Moscow.
Mr Medvedev said that foreign designs against Russia would meet the same response it gave the Nazis during the War.
“We are sure that any aggression against our citizens will be given a worthy reply,” he said.