Russia is holding a postponed Victory Day military parade in Moscow on June 24 as President Vladimir Putin seeks to solidify support ahead of a referendum that could pave the way for his extended rule.
For Putin, the event is particularly significant this year as it falls ahead of a July 1 national vote on controversial amendments to the constitution that would open the door for the Russian leader staying in power until 2036.
But the spectacle of military might in Moscow’s Red Square – involving some 13,000 troops from 13 countries, more than 200 military vehicles, and 75 aircraft – is overshadowed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Russia has reported 600,000 coronavirus infections, giving it the third-highest number in the world. Deaths stand at more than 8,000, but real numbers are believed to be much higher.