Russian President Vladimir Putin says the 60th anniversary of the Allies' victory over the Nazis at the end of World War II in Europe is a triumph of good over evil and he vowed to help see that the world never again faces such a conflict. Mr. Putin made the remarks during an elaborate Victory Day parade on Red Square watched by more than 50 world leaders.
President Putin stood tall as he reviewed more than 7,000 troops marching across the vast expanse of Russia's Red Square over the course of an hour. Aging veterans too old to make the trek on foot were transported in trucks reminiscent of the Soviet-era.
Under threatening skies, Mr. Putin remembered the sacrifice millions of Russian soldiers and civilians were called to make. He also paid tribute to Western allies, among others, whom Mr. Putin said Russia would always remember.
President Putin said Russia never divides the victory of 1945 into ours and theirs. He said it is a common victory for all who shouldered grief with courage.
Mr. Putin also reiterated that the world must always remember the brink on which it found itself and never allow civilization to return there.
In the days leading up to the 60th anniversary celebrations, Mr. Putin has linked Nazism to today's fight against international terrorism. He did so again on Monday, saying it is the world's collective duty to defend a world order based on security and justice.
Mr. Putin said there must be a new culture among nations that will not allow a repeat of any war, as he put it, "neither cold, nor hot."
Leaders of the world's main democracies, including President Bush, listened to Mr. Putin's remarks from a stage next to the mausoleum where the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, lies embalmed.
At parade's end, Russian MIG and Sukhoi fighter jets streaked through the sky above Red Square, leaving a trail of red, white and blue smoke to match the colors of the Russian flag. President Putin and visiting world leaders later visited the tomb of the unknown soldier, before attending a banquet at the Kremlin.
Ordinary Russians, who view the holiday as one of the most sacred of the year, are spending it at picnics well outside the city. Moscow has been virtually shut down in an unprecedented security detail comprising more than 20,000 police. No immediate disturbances were reported.
The past two years, bomb blasts blamed on rebel Chechen separatists have disturbed Victory Day celebrations in Chechnya. Last year, Moscow-backed Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov was killed in a bomb blast in a stadium in the capital, Grozny, as he reviewed a similar military parade.