Russia past virus peak, to hold WWII parade in June: Putin
President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia has passed the peak of coronavirus infections and ordered a postponed World War II victory parade to be held next month.
“According to experts, the peak can be considered passed,” Putin told Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, ordering him to begin preparations for the parade marking 75 years since the defeat of Nazi Germany.
“We will do it on June 24, the day the legendary historic victors’ parade took place in 1945,” Putin said.
Putin had been forced to postpone the massive May 9 parade in mid-April because of risks from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Russian president said Tuesday that the situation was stabilising but stressed that all precautions should be taken to hold the annual Red Square parade next month.
Another popular event usually held on May 9 — the Immortal Regiment processions that see Russians across the country carry portraits of relatives who died in World War II — will be held on July 26, Putin said.
Russian naval bases will also hold traditional naval parades that day, Putin said.
The postponement of the Victory Day parade was a blow to the 67-year-old Russian president, who had hoped to gather world leaders to watch thousands of troops march on Red Square.
The pandemic also forced Putin to cancel a key vote in April on consitutional reforms that would have paved the way for him to retain power until 2036.
On Monday, Putin made a rare appearance in the Kremlin after working remotely from his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow for the past few weeks.
Russia on Tuesday recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll of 174 but said more than 12,000 people had also recovered over the past 24 hours.
Russia has reported a total of 362,342 cases, the third-highest number in the world after the United States and Brazil.