Victory Day Photos: Putin Shows Off Russia's Military Power at 2022 Parade

Russian President Vladimir Putin led a huge military parade through the streets of Moscow on Monday in Russia's annual celebration of "Victory Day," marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

The May 9 celebration and holiday falls a day after Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) is celebrated in Western Europe.

Thousands of military units and personnel paraded through Red Square on Monday.

Speaking at the parade, Putin blamed the West for the war in Ukraine, which began after Russia invaded its neighbor on February 24. He said that the West was "preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea," and that the Ukraine war which he calls a "special military operation," was needed and the right decision.

"NATO is actively pursuing our territory. That is absolutely unacceptable to us. We are talking about neo-Nazis in Ukraine that the U.S. and its partners are working with," Putin said.

"Ukraine is receiving the most modern weaponry from NATO. The decision for this special military operation was forced and was the only correct decision," he added.

"The U.S. spoke after the fall of the Soviet Union about exceptionalism, but we are a different country with a different character. We have respect for all people and cultures."

Huge convoys of tanks and armored military vehicles rolled around Moscow, but military flyovers were canceled because of adverse weather, according to the Kremlin.

The picture below shows Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, leaving Red Square after the Victory Day military parade.

Vladimir Putin at Victory Day
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu leave Red Square after the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9, 2022. Russia is celebrating the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany during World War II. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty/AFP

This one shows Russian service personnel in military vehicles during the parade in Red Square.

Russian tanks Victory Day
Russian military vehicles drive through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9, 2022. This year's celebration was more muted than in previous years, clearly overshadowed by the war in Ukraine. Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty

The below image shows Russian servicewomen marching.

Women at Victory Day Moscow
Russian servicewomen march during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on Monday, May 9, 2022. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Below, Russian self-propelled artillery vehicles leave Red Square.

Tanks on Victory Day
Russian self-propelled artillery vehicles take part in the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on Monday, May 9, 2022. The parade is part of celebrations marking the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo

Below, a Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launcher drives through Red Square.

Ballistic missile Russia
A Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launcher drives through Red Square in central Moscow on May 9, 2022. Alexander Nemenov/Getty

Russian servicemen parade through Red Square, below.

Victory Day
Russian servicemen march during the parade. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo

In the picture below, veterans and guests celebrate the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.

Veterans celebrate Victory Day in Russia
Veterans and guests celebrate the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II. Getty Kirill Kudryavtsev

Members of a military band attend the Victory Day military parade in Red Square, below.

Moscow Victory Day
Members of a military band attend the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in central Moscow on May 9, 2022. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV AFP via Getty Images

A security service officer is pictured with a sniper rifle on Monday.

Sniper on Victory Day
A security service officer aims his sniper rifle to secure the area during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on Monday, May 9, 2022. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo

In the image below, on the left, Vladimir Putin leaves Red Square after the parade. On the right, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu salutes as he is driven through Red Square.

Putin and Shoigu
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, at the Victory Day Parade in central Moscow on May 9 2022. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV//Getty

This year's celebration was more muted than in previous years, clearly overshadowed by the war in Ukraine. There was speculation that Putin was going to claim some form of victory in Ukraine, and some suggested he could have used Victory Day to formally declare war against its neighbor. So far, Putin has called Russia's invasion "a special military operation."