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AP PHOTOS: Russia marks victory over Nazi Germany in WWII

AP PHOTOS: Russia marks victory over Nazi Germany in WWII

Shouts of “Hurrah!” echoed through Moscow's Red Square on Monday from thousands of troops and veterans as Russia celebrated Victory Day, marking the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany 77 years ago to end World War II in Europe.

Missiles, tanks and other armored vehicles rumbled over the cobblestones in the annual military parade, and thousands of troops marched in tight formation as President Vladimir Putin watched with other dignitaries.

In a speech, he cited the Russian troops currently fighting in Ukraine and called for a minute of silence to honor the soldiers who died there.

Victory Day, held every May 9, is Russia’s most important holiday, celebrated across the country and in many of the nations of the former Soviet Union with parades, concerts and fireworks. Russians march with portraits of the so-called “Immortal Regiment” — their relatives who fought in World War II. Putin joined the march and carried a photo of his father.

The Soviet Union lost a staggering 27 million people in the war, which it calls the Great Patriotic War.