efe-epaMoscow

The Russian president on Wednesday paid tribute to the Soviet Union's Red Army veterans who defeated Nazi Germany in World War II, calling their lives an eternal example for future generations, during Victory Day celebrations in the country's capital.

Addressing more than 13,000 troops gathered at Moscow's iconic Red Square, Vladimir Putin vowed that Russia would always remember the feat of those who fought to defend the USSR from the Nazi invasion and said he would carry on their traditions.

"We'll continue to work hard, achieving success in pursuit of a great and thriving Russia," Putin said.

The Kremlin chief underscored the fragility of world peace, adding that only stability was able to promote trust and respect between nations.

Russia's leader said that the country still remembered the lessons from the two world wars, and was therefore open to dialogue with other states with the aim of guaranteeing global stability.

"Russia is open to dialogue on issues of global security and constructive, equal relations so that there can be harmony, peace and progress on the planet," said Putin.

His speech was preceded by the traditional military parade, a colorful spectacle involving thousands of members of the Russian armed forces marching in lockstep.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a state visit to Russia, was also present at the event, as documented by an epa-efe reporter on site.

The Moscow Victory Parade was first held on a rainy day in June 1945 _ more than a month after the Third Reich's capitulation _ under the orders of then-Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

It was the longest and most colossal military parade ever held on the Red Square, involving at least 40,000 soldiers and nearly 2,000 military vehicles, as can be seen in contemporaneous film footage that has survived to this day.

Although Germany signed, through its representative Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, its definitive, unconditional instrument of surrender in the late hours of May 8 in Berlin, it was after midnight in Moscow due to the time difference, which is why the former Soviet republics celebrate Victory Day on May 9.