The Kremlin has announced that no invitations were issued to foreign leaders to attend the annual Victory Parade in Moscow this year.
The May 9 parade, marking the 76th anniversary of the end of World War II for Russians, will be an extravaganza involving more than 12,000 participants. The Russian government announced it will showcase 190 weapon systems and military equipment and 75 aircraft types, including 53 fixed-wing and 23 helicopters.
Dmitry Peskov, press secretary to Russian President Vladimir Putin, confirmed that no foreign guests were invited to attend the 2021 parade. Peskov claimed this is because 2021 is “not an anniversary year.”
“This does not mean that our closest neighbors and allies cannot share the joy of victory with us if they wish,” Peskov added, according to TASS.
In Russia, May 9 is a widely celebrated public holiday and the annual Victory Parade on Red Square has great significance for many citizens. The Russian government has been known to invite foreign guests to attend the parade in a gesture of hospitality.
Notably in 2010, foreign troops representing countries allied with Russia during World War II were invited by then-President Dmitry Medvedev to participate, including troops from the United States, United Kingdom, France and Poland.
The occasion marked the first time that military troops representing Western countries participated in a joint parade with Russian troops on Red Square.
Relations between Russia and Western nations have since deteriorated, with leaders in the US and several European countries turning down parade invitations in 2015.
Foreign guests to Victory Day celebrations have since included representatives from China and post-Soviet countries. This year, however, no formal invitations were sent. MH