05/09/2014 12:18 pm ET | Updated May 09, 2014

Russia Flexes Military Muscle On Victory Day Amid Ukraine Unrest (PHOTOS)

Whipping up both fear and hope in Ukraine, Russia put on a massive display of military muscle on Friday for a holiday celebrating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

At the "Victory Day" parade in Moscow's Req Square, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Soviet forces had saved Europe and praised his nation's "all-conquering patriotism," CNN reported.

The president then headed to celebrations in Crimea in his first visit to the territory since it was annexed by Russia in March. The Guardian reports that the streets of the Crimean port of Sevastopol thronged with crowds chanting "Russia!", "Victory!" and "Thank you!" as pro-Russia militiamen and bikers tore through the streets.

Pro-Russians fighting Ukrainian troops in eastern Donetsk gathered for quieter Victory Day celebrations as deadly clashes continued to rage nearby. Elsewhere in Ukraine, authorities scaled back Victory Day celebrations for fear of further violence, but veterans held a small rally in Kiev, according to CNN.

The anniversary of the 1945 Nazi surrender is still celebrated in many former Soviet territories.

Victory Day Celebrated In Russia, Ukraine


Russia Annexes Crimea