This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the postponement of May 9 celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War II, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a security meeting on April 16, Putin said events including a massive military parade in Moscow’s Red Square would be postponed until a later date.
“In order for the parade to be held on May 9, the preparations need to begin right now, but the risks associated with the epidemic, whose peak has not been passed yet, are still extremely high and that does not give me the right to start preparations for the parade and other mass events now,” the president said.
Events marking Victory Day in other regions of the country were also postponed.
Russia has implemented a partial lockdown across the country until April 30 as coronavirus infections continue to rise.
There have been some 28,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 232 deaths, according to official data.
Critics say the number of infections and deaths is likely much higher.