MOSCOW — A huge military parade has been held in the Russian capital, Moscow, to commemorate 70 years since victory over Nazi Germany by Allied forces.

Some 16,000 troops took part in the Victory Day parade in Red Square with President Vladimir Putin, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and 30 world leaders in attendance. Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian also attended the parade.

An Armenian military unit was among the troops that marched through Moscow’s main square in the biggest parade staged in Russia yet. The Armenian military’s subdivision was led by Colonel Ashot Hakobian.

Addressing the gathering, Putin thanked the Allies for their contributions to the victory, singling out France, Britain, and the United States. Putin said “our grandfathers lived through horrible suffering.”

He criticized the “folly” of creating a “unipolar” world, an apparent swipe at the United States.

High-tech military equipment was on display, including the Armata T-14, the country’s first new battle tank to be deployed in 40 years.

Most Western leaders boycotted the event in Moscow in protest over Russian actions in Ukraine.

In an address released by his press service earlier in the day President Sarkisian extended congratulations to the Armenians on the occasion of what is marked as Victory and Peace Day in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

“Today is a special jubilee day. It marks the 70th anniversary of the historic victory in the Great Patriotic War. It was the crushing blow of the multinational Soviet army that decided the outcome of the war in Europe in May 1945,” said Sarkisian.

“From fighting on the frontline and in guerilla detachments to getting involved in underground and resistance activities, Armenians brought their contributions towards the total defeat of Nazi forces. We struggled in the trench of justice, freedom and humanism against an anti-humanistic ideology, violence and vandalism. By fighting heroically on various fronts and working in the rear day and night, we thus defended our homeland, Armenia, as well,” he continued.

“This victory afforded the Armenian people who had survived the genocide real and broad opportunities for peaceful work and reconstruction and for their total revival.

“It was a symbolic coincidence that on the same day in May 1992 the ancient Armenian fortress town of Sushi was liberated. Following the example of their fathers and grandfathers, our modern-day heroes repeated their ancestors’ feat, fighting in the same trench of justice, freedom and humanism against Armenophobia, violence and vandalism.

“I once again congratulate all of us on this great holiday. Peace to the world and peace to our country!”

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