Il-78 passenger airplane and two Su-34 fighter bombers   /   Photo:

Victory Day parade 2009

Nuclear missile launchers and battle tanks went through the centre of Moscow on Saturday, while air force bombers flew above the city's skyline. Russia celebrated its victory over Nazi Germany 64 years ago.

With Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, standing beside him, President Dmitry Medvedev addressed a speech to thousands of troops drawn up on the Red Square.

The parade was the biggest show of force since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Telegraph daily said. Last year, under an initiative from Mr Putin, tanks and intercontinental ballistic missiles reappeared in Red Square after a 17-year hiatus as part of a drive to show off Russia's military resurgence.

Altogether, the parade involved over 9,000 servicemen, 103 sophisticated military vehicles, and 69 aircrafts.

The parade saw the first public appearance of Russia's much vaunted S-400 Triumph air defense system, which Moscow says can engage enemy aircraft, including those equipped with Stealth technology, at a distance of 250 miles.

Known by Nato as the SA-21 Growler, it is reportedly much more powerful than the MIM-104 Patriot, its closest US rival. The United States has expressed concern that Russia could sell the system to Iran.

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