Putin defends military show planned for Victory Day

May 5th, 2008 - 10:13 pm ICT by admin  

Moscow, May 5 (DPA) As Russia’s military rehearsed for a military parade in Moscow’s Red Square Monday, President Vladimir Putin said the planned Victory Day parade is not meant as a threat. “This is not sabre-rattling. We are not threatening anyone and don’t plan to,” Putin said at his last cabinet meeting before handing over to his successor-elect Dmitry Medvedev Wednesday.

This year’s traditional World War II commemoration parade will bring back heavy military equipment not seen in the capital’s streets since Soviet days, including tanks and heavy artillery and with jets flying overhead.

Some 8,000 soldiers, 200 vehicles and 30 jets were involved in the dress rehearsal Monday morning.

Putin said the emphasis was on a “demonstration of our growing defence capability”.

“We are capable of defending our people, citizens, our state and our wealth, which is not negligent,” he said.

Putin’s comments seemed a response to criticism by rights activists over Russia’s “pointless muscle flexing” and the obfuscation of ingrained problems in Russia’s armed forces.

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