Russia today celebrated the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany with a show of military might, but the Western leaders boycotted the celebrations of a victory that saved the West from Facism, after the renewed Cold War over Russia's role in Ukraine.
About 30 foreign leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and India's President Pranab Mukherjee watched the ceremonial parade at the Red Square even as Western leaders boycotted the celebrations over Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis.
China and India were the only major nations to send their heads of state, alongside about two dozen other leaders, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was also among those watching as thousands of Russian troops marched across Red Square, tanks rumbled through the streets and jets screamed overhead in a huge military parade marking the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany.
In a sign of closer ties with Russia, troops from China and India took part in the victory parade. But the leaders of the wartime allied nations were conspicuously absent from the memorial of the Soviet Union's joint victory with West.
The last time the United States attended the ceremony was a decade ago when President George W Bush sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin on stands in front of Lenin's Tomb to observe the 60th anniversary.
President Bill Clinton also had come to Moscow a decade before that in an emotional post-Cold War visit.
This time around, however, United States was represented by ambassador John Tefft while Britain sent a grandson of Winston Churchill and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she planned to lay wreaths on Sunday at a Moscow war memorial.
Victory Day is the most important holiday for Russiaas every Russian family lost some one fighting for the country. Russians usually mark the Victory Day anniversary with solemn visits to cemeteries to lay flowers on the graves of their family members.
Putin-baiters argue that the World War II-era rhetoric has been revived to justify Russia's intervention in Ukraine.
In Moscow, the West says, the term ''fascist'' now refers not just to a cruel regime defeated 70 years ago but also to Ukraine's current leadership.