MOSCOW, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Russia on Saturday briefly celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory against the Nazis in World War II, amid its intensified battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country has indefinitely postponed the traditional parade of ground troops and military equipment on Red Square and other mass events this year, for the first time since 1995 when May 9 was declared a national holiday.
President Vladimir Putin laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin wall and delivered a televised address to the nation congratulating veterans and all people on the 75th anniversary of the great victory.
In his speech, Putin promised to hold a "broad and solemn" celebration after the pandemic ends, describing this as a duty to those who suffered and won during the war era.
"The spiritual and moral significance of the Victory Day remains invariably great and our attitude to it is sacred. This is our memory and pride; the history of our country, the history of each family," he said.
The Russian leader later attended the march of foot and horse guards of the Presidential Regiment in the Kremlin.
A total of 75 aircraft and helicopters of the Russian Aerospace Forces, including Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 bombers, as well as fifth-generation Su-57 fighters, flew over Red Square.
The aerobatic teams the Russian Knights and the Swifts also took part in the air show, with their planes painting the sky with the three colors of the Russian national flag.
A naval parade was also carried out in Russia's second largest city of St. Petersburg, in a smaller form than usual.
In Sevastopol Bay, Crimea, ships belonging to the Russian Black Sea Fleet lined up and fired salute shots. The fleet is also featured in video tours of its battleships, which are being broadcast on TV.
The national and naval flags were raised on all warships, submarines and support vessels of the Russian Northern Fleet.
The Immortal Regiment, a tradition in which millions of people across Russia parade with portraits of relatives who fought in World War II, is taking place online.
The legal document marking the extinction of Nazi Germany was signed and became effective on the night of May 8, 1945, Berlin time, which was already the early hours of May 9 Moscow time.
This marked the end of the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, an integral part of World War II lasting from 1939 to 1945.
The catastrophic war claimed about 27 million lives of people from the Soviet Union, according to official statistics.
More than seven decades later, Russia is facing another war -- this time, against COVID-19.
The country has tallied a total of 198,676 COVID-19 cases so far. The single-day increase has been over 10,000 for seven consecutive days.