British soldiers to march on Red Square with Russian troops for first time

British soldiers to march on Red Square with Russian troops for first time
# 19 March 2010 22:16 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. British soldiers are to march in Red Square with Russian troops for the first time in a Victory Day parade to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, APA reports quoting web-page.
A detachment of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force will march past the Kremlin in the military parade on May 9. French and American troops will also join the parade to commemorate the allied alliance with the Soviet Union that defeated Nazi Germany.
A spokesman for the British Embassy in Moscow said that British troops had never before marched on Red Square: “It is clearly a great honour for them to be invited to do so for the 65th anniversary of Victory Day and a unique opportunity to commemorate the memory of all servicemen who died in World War Two,” he said.
The British contingent will be accompanied by a flag bearer and escort under an agreement between the Russian and British defence ministries.
The Kremlin revived the Soviet-era practice of parading military hardware on Red Square was revived in 2008 and President Medvedev plans a much bigger Victory Day celebration this year to honour veterans of what Russians call the Great Patriotic War.
More than 26 million Soviets were killed — one in seven of the population. Plans to mark the anniversary by erecting portraits of Soviet war leader Joseph Stalin in the streets of Moscow for the first time in 50 years have outraged human rights groups, however, who argue that it is a step towards rehabilitating a tyrant.
Russian troops have already begun daily drills for the Victory Day celebration, which is broadcast nationwide. Last year’s parade involved 9,000 soldiers and more than 100 fighting vehicles, including the giant Topol-M mobile nuclear missile launcher.
The 1st Battallion Welsh Guards have recently returned from operations in Afghanistan as part of the British Army’s 19 Light Brigade. The Welsh Guards were part of the 1940 evacuation from Dunkirk, when more than 340,000 British and French troops were rescued from the beaches of France, and returned to Normandy in June 1944 following the D-Day landings.
The RAF Band is also set to join a parade through Moscow’s central Tverskaya Street on May 8 and to perform in a music festival called “Ode to Peace”.