The May 9 Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square highlighted the equipment and strategic communications challenges the Russian military has faced during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry.
Over 8,000 military personnel reportedly participated in the parade, but most were auxiliaries, paramilitary forces, and military academy cadets, the ministry wrote in its latest intelligence update.
"The only personnel from deployable formations of regular forces were contingents of Railway Troops and military police."
An old T-34 from a ceremonial unit was the only tank on this year's Victory Day parade, which is a substantial downsize from the usual number of vehicles shown at the event held annually to commemorate the Soviet Union's victory against Nazi Germany in 1945.
"Despite heavy losses in Ukraine, Russia could have fielded more armored vehicles," reads the ministry's update. "The authorities likely refrained from doing so because they want to avoid domestic criticism about prioritizing parades over combat operations."
Earlier, six Russian regions, Russian-occupied Crimea, and 21 cities had canceled their parades due to security concerns. The traditional March of the Immortal Regiment, where families show photos of fallen veterans of the Second World War, and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's reception after the parade, were also canceled.
In 2022, large-scale parades were held in Moscow and other cities in Russia despite the full-scale war raging in Ukraine.