Russia’s 76th Victory Day celebrated in Gauteng
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Pretoria - Russia's military prowess was on display for the world to see at the 76th annual Victory Day Parade on Moscow’s famous Red Square on Sunday.
With the pandemic in mind, two different receptions hosted by Russia’s ambassador to South Africa, Ilya Rogachev, were held in Joburg and Pretoria to mark the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War 2 .
While scenes of 12 000 marching troops, military hardware and a flypast in Moscow’s military parade played out on a TV screen at his residence on Monday, Rogachev stressed the importance of this “sacred holiday” to all Russian people.
Russian attendees wore the symbolic black-and-orange ribbon of St George associated with Victory Day, and guests included military attachés from BRICS countries and others friendly to Russia, former ambassadors and government officials.
Against the background of strained diplomatic relations between Russia and the US and EU, the defence attaché to South Africa, Colonel Dmitrii Priimachuk, echoed the sentiments of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who warned that while Russia would uphold international law, it would protect its national interests and security.
Priimachuk outlined the history of Russia’s entry into the war in June 1941 when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, and Victory Day in 1945, which marks the surrender of Nazi Germany and the end of World War 2, urging that the truth of Russia’s role to be upheld.
Russia’s war losses amounted to more than 26 million soldiers and civilians, the highest of the war, but, he said, Russia was very proud of the victory of the Coalition of Allies to stop the Nazis and warned against the “dangerous game” of former members wanting to “rewrite the history” of the war.
In his response, Chief of Corporate Staff of the SANDF Lieutenant General Lindile Yam congratulated Russia on its celebrations, saying May 9 1945 was not just a victory for the Soviet Union, but a victory for humankind. He also thanked Russia for its support in the fight for freedom from apartheid.