The annexed peninsula of Crimea and two Russian regions bordering Ukraine will not hold traditional parades in May to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II. Their governors justify this, among other things, by not wanting to provoke the enemy with a large number of military vehicles. But foreign commentators claim the opposite and point out that the real reason may be the lack of technology that Russia now possesses.
Last year, 11,000 people and 131 pieces of military equipment marched on Red Square. | Video: Reuters
On Wednesday, Crimean Governor Sergei Aksyonov canceled the May Day parades and traditional military parades that take place across Russia every year on May 9. The same decision was announced a few days ago by the representatives of the Kursk and Belgorod regions. Both of these regions, which are directly adjacent to Ukraine, as well as the Crimean peninsula, have repeatedly been the target of drone strikes since the beginning of the war. According to the Kremlin, Ukrainian forces are behind the attacks, but Kiev does not claim them.
The governor of the Kursk region, Roman Starovojt, said this week that he decided to cancel the ceremony mainly for “security reasons”, the Russian news agency RBK reported. Crimean authorities also canceled all May events for security reasons. The representative of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, in turn, said that the parade in the center of the regional capital will also not take place, for the reason that “there is no provocation of the enemy with a large number of vehicles and soldiers.”
In response, the Kremlin said the decision to cancel military parades commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany by Russians rested entirely in the hands of individual regions. “It is the prerogative of the heads of the regions. They, of course, take appropriate measures based on the interest of ensuring the safety of citizens. This is the main and only priority,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented to the TASS agency. “As for the main show (in Moscow), it is being prepared and planned,” he added.
Destroyed Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers near the Ukrainian city of Izjum in the Kharkiv region. | Photo: Reuters
However, some foreign commentators state that one of the reasons may be the lack of military equipment that the Russian army still has at its disposal after more than a year of conflict. They also point out that the Kremlin probably needs to use most of the remaining parade vehicles mainly in Moscow or in Russia’s larger cities.
“Why did this happen? We all know why,” commented American journalist Sarah Ashton-Cirillová on Twitter, pointing to significant Russian losses in recent months. “Is it because there is nothing left to show at the show except the T-34 (tanks)?” asked Maria Drutska, who works at the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, on the same social network.
Already last year, the Kremlin showed fewer pieces of some types of military equipment at the main show in Moscow than in previous years. Even so, 11,000 people and 131 pieces of military equipment marched on Red Square. However, the American magazine Forbes pointed out at the time that last year’s ceremony, which Russia wants to demonstrate its strength and military prowess every year, was rather humiliating.
“In 2015, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Russia used the Victory Day parade to unveil a robust array of new and seemingly threatening weapons. Now, after a failed attempt to take Ukraine by force, Russia’s military shortcomings are on full display, which will strengthen Ukraine’s appetite for sustained resistance and long wear and tear,” American analyst Craig Hooper commented to the magazine in May of last year.
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