With Ukraine in crisis and Russia's other neighbors edgy, what better time for a colossal display of Moscow's military force? The Victory Day parade is held on May 9 every year to mark the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany, but this year's event in Moscow's Red Square was a lot longer and bigger than usual, reports the BBC, which notes that patriotism has surged following Russia's annexation of Crimea. But the more significant event occurred in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, where Putin himself made a personal appearance, reports AP.
The New York Times calls Putin's visit "a potent manifestation of his goal of reviving Russia as a global power." The government in Kiev, meanwhile, considers it a "gross violation" of Ukraine's sovereignty. Putin was expected to visit with veterans and give a nationally televised speech. In eastern Ukraine, meanwhile, where pro-Russia separatists have decided to go ahead with a referendum on autonomy on Sunday despite Putin's request to delay it, public gatherings have been discouraged but a low-key ceremony to mark the Nazi defeat is planned in Kiev.