Russia Clamps Down on Security Ahead of Victory Day

May 8, 2023

Russia imposed a major security clampdown ahead of Tuesday’s annual Victory Day celebrations, banning the use of drones, jet skis and car-sharing services in the country’s largest cities

Victory Day on May 9 is one of the biggest yearly celebrations in Russia, marking its defeat of the Nazis in World War II. This year, as Russia’s war on Ukraine entered its 15th month, at least 21 Russian cities had canceled military parades for the first time in years, according to state media, with regional officials citing “security concerns” or more vague references to “the current situation.”

The clampdown also comes after last week’s purported drone attack upon the Kremlin. On Wednesday the Kremlin said two Ukrainian drones had struck the Moscow complex and the seat of the Russian government in the early morning hours, accusing Kyiv of attempting to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin—a charge that both Kyiv and the United States, which Moscow had also blamed for the attack, have denied.

Russian media and local officials have also blamed other drone attacks on Ukraine, including attacks targeting oil depots near the Ukrainian-Russian border. Kyiv officials have declined to comment on these claims.

Several foreign leaders, including the leaders of Tajikistan,  Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Kazakhstan, will be joining Putin on Tuesday at the Victory Day festivities in Moscow. 

The leaders of the latter two nations was surprising, since Kazakhstan’s leader, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has told Putin he will not recognize Russia’s occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk and has spoken by phone several time with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. And Armena’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan earlier this year refused to host Russian-linked military drills.

On Monday ahead of Victory Day, Ukraine said it shot down some 60 Iranian-made drones in a Russian attack, though at least five people in were killed in Kyiv from debris.

PHOTO: Victory Day Parade 2019

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