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Parades commemorate Soviet victory in World War II

Anatoly Maltsev / EPA

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA: Members of military-historical clubs wearing Soviet World War II-era uniforms dance at the Warsaw train station in St.Petersburg on May 9, 2012, marking Victory Day celebrations.

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KIEV, UKRAINE: A boy climbs on a World War II monument at an open air museum in Kiev on May 9, 2012.

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Russia's newly-inaugurated President Vladimir Putin and new Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev watch a Victory Day parade at Red Square on May 9, 2012.

Maxim Shipenkov / EPA

MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Russian WWII veterans drink during celebrations marking the 67th anniversary of victory over Germany on May 9, 2012.

Reuters reports — President Vladimir Putin, speaking in Moscow's Red Square with military generals at his side, said he would promote Russia's might on the world stage in a patriotic speech on Wednesday glorifying the Soviet victory over Germany in World War Two.

Two days after being sworn in for a six-year term that has drawn protests against his return to the Kremlin, Putin used the address to troops and war veterans at the annual military parade on Red Square to reinforce appeals for national unity.

400 protesters arrested hours before Putin's return to Russian presidency

"Russia consistently follows a policy of strengthening global security and we have a great moral right to stand up determinedly for our positions because our country suffered the blow of Nazism," Putin said on a podium flanked by military chiefs bristling with medals under the Kremlin's red walls. Read the full story.

Abir Sultan / EPA

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL: Relatives of Israeli veterans who fought against the Nazis wear Soviet uniforms as they march in Jerusalem on May 9, 2012.

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA: People meet the 'Victory train, a vintage locomotive with members of a historical military club aboard, at Varshavsky railway station on May 9, 2012.

Ilmars Znotins / AFP - Getty Images

RIGA, LATVIA: A boy wearing an old military hat looks on as his father makes tea at the World War II monument in Riga on May 9, 2012.