Russia showed off the strength of its military war machine in a grand jubilee parade on Moscow's Red Square held to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Allies' victory over the Nazis in the Second World War.

Among the modern war machines on show were the advanced air-defence missile system used to protect its base in Syria and some of the jets that have flown missions there. President Vladimir Putin, whose forces are helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's army, watched as thousands of Russian troops marched across Red Square to the strains of martial music.

Columns of tanks followed the troops as did the advanced S-400 air defence missile system which is deployed in Syria to protect the Russian air base there. Russia's latest Yars mobile intercontinental nuclear missile launcher was also on show.

Victory Day Moscow
Russian servicemen stand atop T-14 tanks with the Armata Universal Combat PlatformSergei Karpukhin/Reuters
Moscow Victory Day parade
Buk-M2 missile systems trundle across Red SquareGrigory Dukor/Reuters
Moscow Victory Day parade
A Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system is driven across Red Square during the Victory Day paradeGrigory Dukor/Reuters
Moscow Victory Day parade
Russian S-400 Triumph medium-range and long-range surface-to-air missile systems are driven across Red SquareGrigory Dukor/Reuters
Moscow Victory Day parade
A Russian serviceman salutes from a Kurganets-25 armoured personnel carrierGrigory Dukor/Reuters
Moscow Victory Day parade
Russian servicemen drive a T-90A main battle tank on Red SquareGrigory Dukor/Reuters

Scores of military aircraft then flew over Red Square, including jets who emitted multi-coloured smoke to trace a red, blue and white Russian flag in the sky.

Moscow Victory Day parade
MiG-29 jet fighters of the Strizhi (Swifts) and Su-27 jet fighters of the Russkiye Vityazi (Russian Knights) aerobatic teams fly in formationGrigory Dukor/Reuters
Victory Day Moscow
Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers fly in formation above the two-headed eagle statue at the top of the State Historical Museum in MoscowMaxim Shemetov/Reuters
Victory Day Moscow
Russial IL-76MD military transport aircraft fly in formation above the monument to Minin and Pozharsky at Red SquareSergei Karpukhin/Reuters
Moscow Victory Day parade
Russian Mi-28N military helicopters fly in formation during the Victory Day paradeGrigory Dukor/Reuters
Victory Day Moscow
Russian Su-25 assault jets release smoke in the colours of the Russian flag while flying over Red SquareKirill Kudryavtsev/AFP

The authorities, backed by state media, use the annual event to build patriotic sentiment and to underscore the importance of having a strong military to protect the country's borders. It is also a chance to show how a multi-billion-dollar modernisation programme is changing the face of the Russian military by supplying it with new weapons and hardware.

Putin, in his speech to the parade, largely confined his remarks to the importance of defeating the Nazis in the Second World War, but also spoke about the need today to fight global terrorism and cooperate with other nations to do that. A similar, albeit more modest parade, was held at Russia's base in Syria.