Russian President Vladimir Putin with a World War II veteran at a reception for the Victory Day celebration. (RIA-Novosti / Alexei Nikolsky)

Speaking at Moscow’s annual Victory Day parade in Red Square, which was boycotted by Western leaders this year over the continuing crisis in Ukraine, the Russian president criticized the U.S. for “attempts to create a unipolar world.”

The Guardian reported:

Putin said despite the importance of international cooperation, “in the past decades we have seen attempts to create a unipolar world.” That phrase is often used by Russia to criticise the US for purportedly attempting to dominate world affairs.

The US president, Barack Obama, has snubbed the festivities, as have the leaders of Russia’s other key second world war allies, Britain and France, leaving Putin to mark the day in the company of the leaders of China, Cuba and Venezuela. …

As western sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine continue to bite, Moscow has increasingly appeared to pivot away from Europe and focus more on developing relations with China. The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, will be the most high-profile guest on the podium next to Putin. Other presidents in attendance include India’s Pranab Mukherjee, president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of Egypt, Raúl Castro of Cuba, Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

The Soviet Union lost 27 million soldiers and civilians — more than any other country — in what it calls the “great patriotic war.” More than 70 percent of Russians say a close family member was killed or went missing. The Red Army’s triumph remains an enormous source of national pride.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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