Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Ministry of Defense to start preparations for a landmark military parade on Moscow’s Red Square and other cities across the country next month.

During a televised video conference with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Tuesday, he asked Shoigu to avoid all possible risks to the health of participants by insisting on “the most stringent safety measures”.

Putin said he made the decision about the parade after taking into account the fact that the situation in the majority of Russian regions and in the armed forces was stable since the climax of the outbreak.

He cited expert opinion to say that the peak of the coronavirus epidemic had passed in Russia.

The Russian leader also announced the new date of June 24 for the parade, which was originally scheduled for May 9 to mark the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II. But it was postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Putin had said that the Victory Day would be celebrated in Russia later this year.

“It will be on June 24, which is the day when in 1945 the legendary historic parade of victors took place, when soldiers, who fought for Moscow and defended Leningrad and Stalingrad, liberated Europe and stormed Berlin, marched on Red Square,” Putin said.

According to Russian state news agency Tass, the Soviet Union held a parade on June 24, 1945, which was the largest and longest military parade held on Red Square. It involved more than 40,000 soldiers and 1,850 pieces of military hardware.

With or without spectators

The Russian president did not specify whether the Victory Parade would be held with or without spectators. So far, lockdown restrictions are in effect in Moscow and other Russian regions due to the pandemic and all mass events are banned.

On Wednesday, the Russian anti-coronavirus crisis center reported 8,338 new cases, taking its overall case tally to 370,680. Officials reported 161 people with the coronavirus had died in the latest 24-hour period, pushing the nationwide death toll to 3,968.

Meanwhile, Moscow’s sanitation chief Elena Andreeva said on Wednesday that the city authorities were ready to lift the restrictive measures that were in force in the capital due to the pandemic.

If the epidemiological situation allows, the Immortal Regiment march is planned to be held on Russia’s Navy Day, July 26, Putin said, although he admitted that it won’t be possible to ensure strict safety requirements in the case of the march that sees millions of citizens going through the streets in one formation.

Separately, traditional naval parades on July 26 at the Russian Navy’s main naval bases will also be held.

Putin said that it was important that the “Russian Armed Forces carried on with their combat training, and continued with the extremely important tasks of Russian national defense during these difficult weeks and months”.

In summer, more than 3,600 military exercises are scheduled to be held, including the Kavkaz-2020 strategic command and staff drills, Shoigu said.

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