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.

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.

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.