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ISW: Putin attempts to use Victory Day parade to show Russia’s continued influence in Central Asia
Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited his counterparts from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan to attend the annual Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on May 9.
The occasion marks the first time the Central Asian presidents will meet Putin after his indictment by the International Criminal Court.
Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, and Tajik presidents are reportedly attending Moscow's Victory Day parade, with some confirming their visit just one day before the event, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update. The late announcement suggests that the leaders are hesitant to publicly support the war, despite Kremlin attempts to project power.
In contrast to last year, Belarusian and Armenian presidents are also attending the parade while Turkmen President did not confirm his attendance. In 2022, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan did not hold Victory Day parades due to health concerns from the pandemic.
Putin will deliver a speech in Red Square, where he will be joined by leaders of several ex-Soviet republics. In last year's address he made no mention of Ukraine but slammed the NATO military alliance for expanding to Russia's borders and hailed Soviet heroism in resisting Hitler.
Reflecting increased security concerns caused partly by recent drone attacks, Russian authorities have cancelled the traditional flyover. There have also been reports of fewer soldiers and less military hardware joining this year's parade as the war against Ukraine takes a heavy toll on men and equipment.