MOSCOW, May 9, 2015 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas together with 30 world leaders attended Saturday massive military parade and festival events in Moscow marking the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Soviet Union and its allies over Nazi Germany in World War II.
Russia held a massive military parade showcasing the most advanced military technology and hardware and featuring over 16,000 soldiers together with over 200 aircrafts and 1,880 military equipment units. The parades were broadcasted live on Russia Today (RT) channel.
A number of high-profile leaders joined Abbas in attending the festivals. They included Chinese leader Xi Jinping, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, India’s President Pranab Mukherjee, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Cuba’s President Raul Castro, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma.
Upon his arrival to the Russian capital, Abbas said: “It is a pleasure for me to take part in the victory celebrations afer an invitation from the Russian leadership.”
Abbas was accompanied by member of Fatah Central Committee Nabil Sha‘ath, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Faed Mustafa, and the head of the Palestinian-Russian Friendship Association.
During his speech, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin stressed the need to uphold to the principles that have formed the cornerstone of the world order that emerged following WWII.
Stressing that Nazi Germany has taught the international community a harsh lesson, Putin stated, seventy years after WWII, we don’t have to forget that the concept of racial supremacy and exclusiveness have resulted in the most bloody wars.
He added that the principles forming the cornerstone of the world order whose institutions have proven effective in the settlement of disputes and conflicts have been disregarded for the last few decades.
Victory Day is considered Russia’s second most public holiday after Ney Year’s Day. It is celebrated on May 9 and marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in WWII in 1945.
Unlike Europe where it is celebrated on May 8, Victory Day in Russia is celebrated on May 9 as Germany’s surrender was signed late in the evening on May 8, 1945 when it was already May 9 in Russia.
Victory Day commemorates millions of people who lost their lives in WWII, known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War. At least 27 million people had been killed in the Soviet Union.
Abbas’ visit is the second in less than a month. He visited Moscow on April 14, when he took the opportunity to slam Israel’s ‘longstanding policy of deception’ and stated that the world is still witnessing Israel’s aggression and racism against the Palestinian people and that Israel is still acting as a rogue; placing itself above international law and continuing its occupation of Palestinian territories.
“Israel is still maintaining its long-standing policy of conducting a meaningless vicious circle of negotiations in an effort to shirk the prerequisites of just and comprehensive peace, gain time and impose a fait accompli to make it impossible to establish the future Palestinian state,” Abbas stated during his April visit.