A 72-aircraft fly-past was grounded because of low cloud over the Kremlin, foiling the Russian strongman’s bid to showcase his aerial power
| The Sun
VLADIMIR Putin was defeated by the weather today, despite spending £1.3 million to spike the clouds with a chemical cocktail to supposedly guarantee sunshine on his vast annual military parade.
A 72-aircraft Red Square fly-past was grounded because of low cloud over the Kremlin, thwarting his bid to showcase his air force and honour Russian pilots who have served in Syria.
The Soviet “weather changing” technology successfully prevented rain on Putin’s parade but failed to disperse the thick low cloud so only a display of armoured vehicles and missile systems went ahead.
Earlier one of his military commanders had vowed the monster parade of Russia’s firepower would lead the countries enemies to “salivate”.
Putin told the annual 9 May commemoration of the end of the Second World War in Europe in the presence of many veterans: “We will always guard Russia just as you, the soldiers of the Victory, did. And [we will] strengthen the traditions of patriotism, loyally serving the homeland.
“The lessons of the past war force us to be vigilant and the Russian Armed Forces are ready to repel any potential attack.”
He vowed: “There was no, there is no and there will be no force that could ever enslave our people.
“They fought to the bitter end, defending their homeland, and did what seemed impossible, they turned the bloody wheel of the Second World War back, drove the enemy from our land where it dared to come, crushed Nazism, put an end to its atrocities.
“And we will never forget that it was our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who brought the freedom to Europe and the long-awaited peace on the planet.”
His emotional speech came on the most sacred day in the Russian calendar – known as Victory Day – when people commemorate the 27 million soldiers and civilians who lost their lives between 1941 and 1945.
The Russian president personally took the salute at the parade involving 10,001 troops and 114 units of military equipment. But a fly-past of 72 aircraft was cancelled.
This mean no display by Russia’s Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets, which have seen combat action recently in Syria.
On display in Moscow was the the newly developed Tor-M2DT short-range anti-aircraft missile system and the Pantsir-SA surface-to-air missile system, both designed to operate in the Arctic.
Thundering across the Red Square cobbles was the T-72B3M variant of the T-72 main battle tank.
Ahead of the parade, air force Commander Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev had vowed: “What makes this year so special is that virtually each and every pilot who will take part in the 9 May flyby in Moscow has fought in Syria, is highly decorated, and will showcase skills that will make many countries salivate.”
The aim was to put on display “our very best achievements, all the good things we have,” he said. His hopes were defeated by the weather.
Many Russians were today honouring the dead in their own families by taking part in marches to the Immortal Regiment, holding pictures of relatives who perished in the war.