“We have a great moral right to persist in our stance, in so much as it was our country that took upon itself the main thrust of Nazism and met the enemy with heroic resistance, determining the course of the war,” he said in comments carried live by state-run television.
Putin also said lamented the “ideological confrontations” he said were to blame for the failure to prevent World War Two.
“Only the strict observance of international norms, the respect of state sovereignty and the independent choice of the people can guarantee that the tragedy of the war will never be repeated,” he added.
Putin was speaking ahead of a parade that involved 14,000 military personnel and over 100 pieces of military hardware, including Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, S-400 Triumph air defence systems and Iskander-M missile launchers. A total of 1,500 WWII veterans were also invited to attend the parade.
Wednesday’s parade was also attended by Putin's predecessor in the Kremlin, new Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Some 25 million Soviet soldiers and citizens lost their lives in the battle against Nazism. The Soviet Union entered World War Two in 1941, after Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler ordered his forces to invade, in breach of a Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact.
The first Victory Parade was held on Red Square on June 24, 1945 on the order of then-Supreme Commander-in-Chief Joseph Stalin.
Putin was inaugurated as president for a third term on Monday after a landslide victory in March elections marred by allegations of vote fraud. He served four years as prime minister after being forced to stand down by the Constitution in 2008, but remained by far Russia’s most popular politician.
Victory Day has also been celebrated in the UK.
Flowers were laid trhis morning at the Soviet War Memorial near the Imperial War Museum in London, followed by the talk “Diplomat at war” at IWM.There was also an invitation-only reception for the veterans of the Arctic Convoys aboard HMS Belfast and, from 18.30, a free gala concert of Russian and British bands at Hay’s Galleria.
Since April 24 ceremonies have been held across the UK where representatives of the Defence Attaché’s office of the Russian Embassy laid flowers to the graves of Soviet servicemen in over ten towns from Aldershot to Tidworth. On 29th April a memorial to the members of the Soviet-British military mission who died in an air crash in 1942 in Yorkshire was unveiled near the site of the crash: Vine House, Main Street, Great Ouseburn.
Between the 7th and 12th of May a special week of events is being held at the Russian Arctic Convoys Museum in Wester Ross, Scotland.