Russian President Vladimir Putin has addressed a Victory Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square, saying that his forces in eastern Ukraine are “defending the motherland”.

He told crowds that the invasion of Ukraine – what he called a “special military operation” – was necessary and had been provoked by the West.

But Mr Putin did not make any major announcement relating to the war, including declaring victory or a full-scale mobilisation.

The annual Victory Day is one of the most important holidays in the Russian calendar and commemorates the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

Parades have been taking place in 28 cities across Russia, involving 65,000 people and 2,400 items of military hardware.

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