Russia Victory Day parade and Vladimir Putin's address
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) leaves after watching the Victory Day Parade in Moscow's Red SquareReuters

As Russia marks the 69th anniversary of its victory in World War II, President Vladimir Putin said the occasion is "a day of triumph and a symbol of national pride".

Hailing the war veterans, Putin said the day will remain Russia's main holiday.

Putin said: "Sixty-nine years have passed since the end of the Great Patriotic War. But May 9 has been and will be our main holiday."

"It is a day of national triumph and national pride, a day of grief and everlasting memory."

"It is a celebration of the invincible power of patriotism that triumphs when we all have a particularly acute feeling of what it means to be loyal to one's Motherland and how important it is to defend its interests."

About 11,000 Russian troops, 69 aircraft - including Su-27 and Su-34 fighter jets - and dozens of armoured vehicles took part in the event in Moscow's Red Square.

The Victory Day was also attended by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other top Russian authorities.

The day commemorates the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union.

Putin's Address in Full

Citizens of Russia, veterans,

Soldiers and sailors, sergeants and warrant officers, corporals and midshipmen, officers, generals and admirals, I congratulate you on Victory Day!

Sixty-nine years have gone by since the Great Patriotic War ended, but 9 May was and still is our biggest holiday. It is the day of our national triumph and our people's pride, and also the day of sorrow and eternal memory.

On this day we see the overwhelming strength of patriotism and feel especially acutely what it means to be loyal to our homeland and how important it is to defend our country's interests.

We must remain worthy of our forebears' deeds. They fought to the death with the enemy, defending their native land, and they vanquished Nazism.

This victory was forged on the frontlines and on the home front, in partisan detachments and in the underground. The courage of blockaded Leningrad brought it closer, as did the bravery of Sevastopol's defenders and the valour of thousands of soldiers who held their lines firm.

The fierce battles for Moscow and Stalingrad, Kursk and the Dnieper determined the outcome of the whole of World War II. The Soviet people's iron will, fearlessness and steadfast courage saved Europe from enslavement.

It was our country that pursued the Nazis right back into their dens, dealt them the full and final blow, and achieved victory at a cost of millions of lives lost and terrible trials endured.

We must always preserve this sacred and unfading truth and not allow others to betray or forget these heroes who sacrificed everything for the sake of preserving peace in our world.

Friends, today we bow our heads in memory of those who are not with us any longer. Every family honours their devotion to their Fatherland.

The unbroken link between generations is our immense national treasure and it is here that Russia's strength and dignity lies. We thank our veterans. We are proud of you.

There is no one dearer and closer to us than you on this day. On this day we honour you with flowers, fireworks and military parades, but most important of all, we give you the warmth of our hearts.

You not only traversed the tumultuous war years with honour, but also rebuilt the country and worked for the common good, knew the meaning of friendship, knew how to find joy in life, and this is the lofty legacy you handed on to us – this summit of creation, unity, and love for our Motherland.

We will never let you down. We will look after Russia and its glorious history and will make service to our country the highest value, as it always was throughout our history. I am sure it will always be so in the future too.

Glory to the victorious people!

Happy holiday to everyone!

Happy Victory Day!