Vladimir Putin will seek to use a military parade in Belgrade on Thursday to portray Russia and its allies as a bulwark against the rise of neo-Nazism across Europe.
The cold war-style parade involving tanks, phalanxes of soldiers and a flyover by military jets will be the first of its kind that Serbia has held for nearly three decades. The last time, the country was still part of socialist Yugoslavia.
The event is to commemorate the liberation of Belgrade from Nazi occupation by Yugoslav Partisans and the Red Army 70 years ago. The date of the ceremony was moved forward four days to fit in with Putin’s timetable.