Rows of missiles and tanks rumbled through Moscow's Red Square and dozens of combat jets streaked overhead in the Victory Day parade Saturday in the largest display of military might since the Soviet times.
President Dmitry Medvedev warned sternly that Russia was ready to respond to any challenge and said its military has proven that in real action - a clear reference to the war with neighboring ex-Soviet Georgia.
While Medvedev didn't specifically mention the war, he alluded to the five-day conflict, saying that World War II taught a lesson which "remains acute today when again there are those who engage in military adventurism."
The August war erupted when Georgian troops moved to restore control over the separatist province of South Ossetia, which hosted Russian peacekeepers and had close ties with Moscow. Russia responded with overwhelming might, sending troops and tanks that quickly crushed the Georgian military and drove deep into Georgia.
Medvedev said that among soldiers taking part in Victory Day parade, "there are those who have proven high capability of the Russian military in real action. We are confident that any aggression against our citizens will be firmly repelled," he said.