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Parades commemorate Red Army's World War II victory

Yuri Kadobnov / AFP - Getty Images

Russian military jets fly above St. Basil's cathedral in Moscow's Red Square on May 9, 2013, during Russia's Victory Day parade.

Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, center right, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, center left, watch the Victory Day Parade in Red Square on May 9, 2013.

Ivan Sekretarev / AP

In a haze of exhaust fumes, Russian self-propelled howitzers move across Red Square on May 9, 2013.

Fighter jets screamed over Red Square and heavy tanks rumbled over its cobblestones as Russia flexed its military muscle on the 68th anniversary of its costly victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the annual military parade in Moscow that Russia will be a guarantor of world security. Putin's short speech Thursday came at the culmination of Victory Day, Russia's most important secular holiday, which honors the country's huge military and civilian losses. 

Commemorative events were also held in other former Soviet states and in Jerusalem.

-- Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press

Efrem Lukatsky / AP

Cadets of the Ukrainian Military academy preparing to celebrate the anniversary of victory over the Nazis at a memorial to World War II veterans in a park in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 9, 2013.

Andrey Smirnov / AFP - Getty Images

Russian World War II veterans, former navy sailors, celebrate Victory Day at their traditional veterans' meeting in Gorky park in central Moscow on May 9, 2013.

Abir Sultan / EPA

A Jewish veteran accompanied by his grandson takes part in a parade marking the 68th anniversary of the victory of the Allies over Nazi Germany in Jerusalem, Israel, on May 9, 2013.

Ivan Sekretarev / AP

Russian soldiers march across Red Square on May 9, 2013.

David Mdzinarishvili / Reuters

Veterans chat during a Victory Day celebration in Tbilisi, Georgia, on May 9, 2013.

Dumitru Doru / EPA

A young girl lays flowers at the grave of fallen soldiers during celebrations to mark the 68th anniversary of Victory Day in Chisinau, Moldova, on May 9, 2013.

Sergey Dolzhenko / EPA

World War II-era military vehicles parade in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on May 9, 2013.

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In a grand display, Russian soldiers re-enact historic World War II march