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Crimean authorities cancel Victory Parade in Simferopol over pandemic

As the Crimean head explained, it is important to stem the spread of the coronavirus infection and prevent the situation from getting out of control during the vacation period on the peninsula, which is a major resort in Russia

SIMFEROPOL, June 16. /TASS/. The Victory Parade scheduled to be held in the capital of Crimea on June 24 has been cancelled for safety reasons due to the coronavirus pandemic, Crimea’s Head Sergei Aksyonov wrote on his VKontakte social network account on Tuesday.

The military parade to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War was scheduled to be held in Simferopol on June 24. The Victory Parade was expected to feature over 70 items of armament and military hardware, including T-72B3 tanks, Grad multiple launch rocket systems and Khrizantema self-propelled anti-tank missile systems, and also over 1,000 personnel.

"For the purposes of protecting the life and health of citizens, in compliance with the decree by the president of the Russian Federation ‘On Holding Military Parades and an Artillery Salvo to Mark the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 and the June 24, 1945 Victory Parade" and upon approval from the federal authorities, I have made an important decision that the Victory Parade on June 24 will take place only in the hero city of Kerch," Aksyonov wrote.

As the Crimean head explained, it is important to stem the spread of the coronavirus infection and prevent the situation from getting out of control during the vacation period on the Crimean Peninsula, which is a major resort in Russia.

"The decision has been prompted by special conditions, in which we have found ourselves in the past few months. I am confident that by its emotional charge the Victory Parade in Kerch will be no inferior to the celebrations of past years because this is what is in our hearts and does not depend on external circumstances in any way. By overcoming difficulties, we are getting stronger and more united. The event will be held in strict compliance with sanitary and epidemiological requirements," Crimea’s head added.

The Victory Parade in the hero city of Kerch on the Crimean Peninsula will be broadcast live on various information sites, including on the social network accounts of the Crimean head, Aksyonov said.

"Next year, the Victory Parade will necessarily be held in the city of Simferopol," Crimea’s head emphasized.

Russia postponed its military parade traditionally held on Moscow’s Red Square on May 9 for a later date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At a video conference with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on May 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the anticipated Victory Parade would be held on Moscow’s Red Square on June 24.

The head of state explained he had chosen this date because June 24 was the day when in 1945 the legendary historic parade of victors took place, when soldiers, who fought for Moscow and defended Leningrad, who stood their ground for Stalingrad, liberated Europe and stormed Berlin, marched on Red Square.

The Russian president instructed the defense chief to make sure that there weren’t any risks to the health of the military parade’s participants.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday the Kremlin "fully understands" the decision by some Russian regions to restrict the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the victory amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"This is the regional authorities’ prerogative. These are the powers they were vested with amid the epidemiological danger," the Kremlin spokesman said, stressing that such decisions by some regional governors precisely suggested that they were exercising their authority.

"As the president said, the governors better understand the local situation and can thus make some short-and medium-term epidemiological forecasts and pass particular decisions based on these forecasts," the Russian presidential spokesman said.

To date, 545,458 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 294,306 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 7,284 fatalities nationwide.