President Vladimir Putin on Saturday presided over Russia’s largest military parade to mark 70th anniversary of the Soviet military defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, media report said.

Western leaders are boycotting the event at Moscow’s Red Square to protest Russia’s involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the report said.

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Russia denies accusations by the West that it is arming separatists in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions as more than 6,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict.

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Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders from 20 countries attended the parade, which featured 16,000 soldiers and 200 military vehicles, and was to end with a flyover by 140 aircraft.

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The parade was a show of strength by Putin, who denounced as “absurd” Western sanctions imposed on Russia after it annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last year. (dpa/NAN)