Putin to send 'doomsday' warning to West at Russia's WW2 victory parade
Putin to speak amid a saber-rattling display on Red Square
President Vladimir Putin will send a "doomsday" warning to the West when he leads celebrations on Monday marking the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany, brandishing Russia's vast firepower while its forces fight on in Ukraine.
Defiant in the face of deep Western isolation since he ordered the invasion of Russia's neighbor, Putin will speak on Red Square before a parade of troops, tanks, rockets and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
A fly-past over St Basil's Cathedral will include supersonic fighters, Tu-160 strategic bombers and, for the first time since 2010, the Il-80 "doomsday" command plane, which would carry Russia's top brass in the event of a nuclear war, the Defense Ministry said.
In that scenario, the Il-80 is designed to become the roaming command center for the Russian president. It is packed with technology but specific details are Russian state secrets.
The 69-year-old Kremlin leader repeatedly likened the war in Ukraine to the challenge the Soviet Union faced when Adolf Hitler's Nazis invaded in 1941.
"The attempt to appease the aggressor on the eve of the Great Patriotic War turned out to be a mistake that cost our people dearly," Putin said two months ago when he announced what he called a special military operation in Ukraine.
"We will not make such a mistake a second time, we have no right."
Putin casts the war in Ukraine as a battle to protect Russian speakers there from persecution by Nazis and to guard against what he terms the US threat to Russia posed by NATO enlargement. Ukraine and the West dismiss the fascism claim as nonsense and say Putin is waging an unprovoked war of aggression.