Russia has been showing off its military muscle in the annual Red Square parade marking victory over Nazi Germany while the world's attention is focused on Ukraine.

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President Vladimir Putin made no reference to the situation in Ukraine in a speech before the parade. He focused instead on the historic importance of the victory over Nazi Germany. among the troops on parade, however, was a marine unit from the Black Sea Fleet that flew the Crimean flag on its armoured personnel carriers.

About 11,000 Russian troops marched across Red Square to the sound of martial music and patriotic songs. They were followed by columns of dozens of tanks, rocket launchers and massive Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles. About 70 combat aircraft, including giant nuclear-capable strategic bombers, roared overhead.

Crimea, home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet base, is also set to hold a massive navy parade in the port of Sevastopol in celebration of annexation with Russia.

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Russian president Vladimir Putin and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev watch the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square, marking the victory over Nazi GermanyReuters
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Putin speaks in front of St Basil's Cathedral in Red Square during the Victory Day paradeAFP
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A sniper keeps watch on the Kremlin wall during the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red SquareReuters
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Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu salutes during the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red SquareReuters