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Russia still planning to stage Victory Day parade in May

Russia still planning to stage Victory Day parade in May
A woman wears a protective face mask on March 27 as she walks past a sign advertising the 2020 Victory Day parade, scheduled for May 9. Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE

April 6 (UPI) -- Russian government officials are moving ahead with plans to stage its annual Victory Day parade in May despite 12 million Moscow residents who are now ordered to stay home due to the coronavirus crisis.

Parade rehearsals are scheduled in the Russian capital on Thursday and the Victory Day parade is scheduled for May 9.

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Russia has more than 4,700 cases of the coronavirus disease so far.

Each year, Moscow celebrates victory in World War II on the holiday, which is one of Russia's most celebrated. Several world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, are scheduled to join Russian President Vladimir Putin at this year's event.

The Russian defense ministry said it held rehearsals as recently as last Wednesday, and a video posted online showed thousands of Russian troops practicing for the event.

"May 9th is a sacred date for millions upon millions in Russia and [Commonwealth of Independent States] countries," the foreign ministry tweeted. "The Victory Day parade is scheduled and will march on Red Square."

The ministry added that "sanitary measures" will be taken.

Many Western leaders stopped attending the annual parade after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

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