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Russia's President Vladimir Putin and foreign leaders lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall after the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9, 2024. (Maksim Blinov/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia held its Victory Day celebration in Moscow on May 9, a heavily militarized holiday marking the end of World War II.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that over 9,000 military personnel and over 70 pieces of equipment were featured in the Victory Day parade.

The leaders of Cuba, Laos, Guinea-Bissau, Kazakhstan, and Belarus were among the foreign leaders who joined Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow for the event.

Russia relies on "the memory of the military brotherhood of our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers," and the "friendship of people of different nationalities" for the ability to work "together for the sake of the future," Putin said in his speech.

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Putin referred to the Soviet Union as a country that not only "defeated Nazism," but also "helped the peoples of the African continent and Asia both during the period of their anti-colonial struggle and after they gained state independence."

The day is celebrated by those who "realize the enduring value of justice, equality, and humanism," Putin claimed.

Against the backdrop of Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine, the historical memory of World War II has been weaponized by Russia as part of its attempt to frame the invasion of Ukraine as a continuation of Russia's struggle against the West.

Media reports emerged earlier in May that the Russian authorities had created a display of Western military hardware allegedly captured in Ukraine as part of a World War II memorial in Moscow.

The display reportedly showcased a variety of German-made equipment, accompanied by a sign that read, "history is repeating itself," as well as a U.S. Abrams tank.

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law in 2023 officially changing the date of Ukraine's World War II commemoration to May 8, aligning it with most of Europe and indicating a full break from the Soviet-era holiday.

Around 6 to 7 million Ukrainians were killed during World War II, including about 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews. As a percentage of the population, Ukraine suffered greater losses in the war than Russia.

Never again? Again. (Photos)
Warning: This article contains graphic images. The slogan “Never again” emerged in response to the Holocaust and other atrocities of World War II as a vow of humanity to prevent such horrific events from being repeated. On May 8, the world marks Victory in Europe Day, celebrating 79 years since

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