MOSCOW, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Russia started celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of its victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War on Sunday with a military parade at the Red Square in central Moscow.
At 10:00 a.m. Moscow time (0600 GMT), the parade started when Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and the Moscow Military District Commander Valery Gerasimov inspected and saluted the troops with festival greetings.
"I congratulate you on the jubilee of the great victory," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in his address at the beginning of the parade.
"This war made us a strong nation ... We have won not simply a military victory but also a moral victory," he said.
The parade, which was accompanied by over 50 Russian and foreign military orchestras, is divided into the military personnels' march, the parade of military armaments on the ground and in the sky.
Russia's newest ground-based missile launcher, the Topol-M, and the Pantsir-S air defense system made their debut at the Red Square.
Other weapons displayed in the parade included the Iskander-M tactical missile systems that have been deployed over the past few years.
The climax of the parade came with the air show and the cheering from crowds on the ground.
Ten Mi-8 helicopters pioneered the fly-past presentation while hanging various kinds of flags. The helicopter formation displayed banners marking "65" and "Victory" in mid-air.
Then, a huge number "65" was displayed in the sky, with 11 Su-25 fighter jets forming the number "five" and MiG-29 fighters the number "six."
Additionally, six Su-25 fighter jets released red, white and blue smoke in the colors of the Russian flag while flying over the Red Square.
Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, were joined by leaders from over 20 countries, including China and Germany, at the Red Square to watch the grand parade that is the centerpiece of the weekend celebrations.
About 3,000 veterans of the Second World War and other domestic and foreign guests, attended the unprecedented celebrations.
Around 10,500 personnel, 159 military armaments, 127 aircraft and helicopters participated in the Red Square parade.