Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and Serbian President Alexander Vujcic at a parade in Moscow's Red Square commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the Russian victory over Nazi Germany on Wednesday.President Putin had personally invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to participate alongside him in the events of Russia's annual victory day.Following the parade, the leaders attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in memory of soldiers of the Red Army who fell in the Second World War whose burial place is unknown. An honor guard was held at the site and the countries' anthems were played.The leaders then proceeded to take part in a reception at the Kremlin marking the holiday with the participation of dozens of veterans.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Russia, Netanyahu said: "I am leaving for an important meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Our meetings are always important and this is especially important. "In light of what is happening in Syria at this moment, it is necessary to ensure the continued security coordination between the Russian army and the Israel Defense Forces."
Part of an annual event marking the Soviet Union's World War Two victory over the Nazis, Putin looked on as thousands of troops marched past him and columns of tanks rumbled across the famous square in a show of military might reminiscent of those displayed during the Cold War.The authorities, backed by state media, use the event to boost patriotic feeling and show the world and potential buyers of military hardware how a multi-billion dollar modernisation program is changing the face of the Russian military.Putin, whose relations with the West are on a hostile trajectory, has said he does not want an arms race while warning potential enemies that his country has developed a new generation of invincible weapons to protect itself just in case.
"We remember the tragedies of the two world wars, about the lessons of history which do not allow us to become blind. The same old ugly traits are appearing along with new threats: egoism, intolerance, aggressive nationalism and claims to exceptionalism," Putin told the parade."We understand the full seriousness of those threats," added Putin, who complained about what he said were unacceptable attempts to rewrite history while saying Russia was open to talks on global security if they helped keep world peace.Putin has sharply increased military spending over the 18 years he has dominated Russian politics, handed the Russian military significant policy-making clout, and deployed Russian forces in Ukraine and Syria, stoking tensions with the West.
As commander-in-chief, he has also at times donned military uniform himself and been filmed at the controls of a strategic bomber and on the conning tower of a submarine in photo opportunities designed to boost his man of action image.Weapons displayed on Red Square included Russia's Yars mobile intercontinental nuclear missile launcher, its Iskander-M ballistic missile launchers, and its advanced S-400 air defense missile system, which Moscow has deployed in Syria to protect Assad's forces.Reuters contributed to this report.