Russian President Vladimir Putin has rolled out the red carpet for Chinese President Xi Jinping as they met in Moscow ahead of Victory Day commemorations in the capital.
Though the Chinese leader is joining heads of state from Latin America at the 70th anniversary parade, there are notable absences this year as many Western leaders have decided to shun the event in protest over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, although some feel the snub goes too far.
“World War II of course was the most destructive conflict in the history of our species. To forget the Second World War, to forget the Soviet and Russian contribution to the allied victory, is really to overlook a large part of 20th century history, especially the second half of that,” explained History professor Anton Fedyashin.
Rehearsals are well underway for Saturday which will see a massive parade on Red Square with more than 200 military vehicles and a fly-by involving more than 150 aircraft.
Russia is aiming to show off its military might while also paying tribute to the more than 24 million civilians and soldiers who lost their lives in the Second World War.