Victory Day parades traditionally held on May 9 across Russia have been canceled but a celebration in Moscow will likely go ahead on a smaller scale, the U.K. Defense Ministry said on May 6.
Six Russian regions, Russian-occupied Crimea, and 21 cities had canceled their parades, usually held to commemorate the Soviet Union's victory against Nazi Germany in 1945, due to security concerns, the U.K. Defense Ministry said. It added that the risk of protests and discontent breaking out over the war in Ukraine may have influenced the Russian leadership's decision.
According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, the May 3 Ukrainian drone attack on the Kremlin has shown "Russia’s increasing vulnerability to such attacks and has almost certainly raised the threat perception of the Russian leadership over the Victory Day events." While the Kremlin claimed that it was a Ukrainian drone attack that targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin's residence, Ukraine has officially denied its involvement.
The traditional March of the Immortal Regiment, where families show photos of fallen veterans of the Second World War, and Putin's reception after the parade, are also canceled, the U.K. Defense Ministry added.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a D.C.-based think-tank analyzing the war in Ukraine, said in its May 4 report that Russian officials are likely using the alleged May 3 drone strike on the Kremlin as a pretext to continue canceling upcoming Victory Day parades.
The Kremlin may be canceling the celebrations in order to "conceal the degradation of the Russian military" caused by Russia's war against Ukraine, according to the ISW.
In 2022, large-scale parades were held in Moscow and other cities in Russia despite the full-scale war raging in Ukraine.