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Russia again had only one tank in its big Victory Day military parade, and it was a World War II relic

Ella Sherman   

Russia again had only one tank in its big Victory Day military parade, and it was a World War II relic
  • This year's Victory Day military parade in Moscow's Red Square featured a single WWII-era tank.
  • Russia's war with Ukraine has resulted in the loss of thousands of tanks.

Russia often uses its annual Red Square military parade in Moscow as an opportunity to show off its weaponry. This year's showing was a bit lackluster, and its modern tanks were again absent.

While a range of tanks, both new and old, are typically present in the May 9 Victory Day military parade, which commemorates the lives lost and victory achieved when the Soviet Union defeated Nazi Germany in 1945, in this year's event, there was only one WWII-era T-34 on display.

This year marks the second year in a row the tank element in the Russian parade has been notably muted, featuring only one tank from a bygone era. Analysts characterized last year's event as embarrassing for Russia, and there were similar observations this year.

The lack of modern tanks in the military parade, in some ways, reflects Russia's war in Ukraine, which Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about during the event, praising the heroes of the "special military operation."

Even though Russia has been able to noticeably rebuild its military strength to what it had at the start of its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has also lost thousands of tanks and many of its armored personnel in Ukraine to anti-tank missiles, mines, and drones.

In February, the International Institute for Strategic Studies said Russia lost over 3,000 tanks since its invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this month, Ukraine's forces claimed to have destroyed dozens of Russian tanks on the battlefield in Donetsk.

Moscow can't reliably field what is supposed to be its most advanced tank, the costly T-14, and it has lost enough of its other tanks, like its T-72s, T-80s, and T-90s, in battle that it has at times sent out obsolete Soviet-era tanks, such as the ancient T-62s and T-54s, from storage to the front lines.

During the parade, Russian soldiers were seen carrying what appeared to be drone jammers, likely a reaction to the potential for attacks from Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles. The Russian capital has been hit before, and Ukraine has been increasingly conducting long-range drone strikes into Russia territory.

While the Russian tank display was notably lacking, other modern Russian weapons did make an appearance, such as Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles. Throughout the war in Ukraine, Russia has regularly rattled the nuclear saber.

In his speech at the event, President Vladimir Putin spoke of Russia's strength and preparedness, taking aim at Western nations and Ukraine.

"We will not let anyone threaten us," he said. "Our strategic forces are always on combat alert."

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