Russia showcases military might in Red Square parade celebrating Soviet Union's World War II victory

MOSCOW, May 9 (Reuters) - Russia rolled out air defense systems built to operate in sub-zero Arctic conditions on Tuesday as it showcased its military might at a parade on Moscow's Red Square.

The parade, an annual event commemorating the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, took place under grey skies as President Vladimir Putin looked on from a platform alongside Soviet war veterans.

The Kremlin has been flexing its military muscle in the hydrocarbon-rich Arctic region, as it vies for dominance with rivals Canada, the United States and Norway.

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Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Two Pantsir-SA surface-to-air missile system are seen during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moldovan President Igor Dodon attend the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Two Russian servicemen sit inside a Buk-M2 missile system during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with veterans after the the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov/Pool
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian servicewomen parade during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian servicemen parade with Tigr-M (Tiger) all-terrain infantry mobility vehicles and Kornet-D1 anti-tank guided missile systems during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian servicemen stand atop a tank during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - A Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system is seen during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov/Pool
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian servicemen parade during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov/Pool
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin waves hand as he attends the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian servicemen parade with tanks during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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"Lessons of the past war remind us to be vigilant, and the Armed Forces of Russia are capable of repelling any potential aggression," Putin told the parade.

"But for an effective battle with terrorism, extremism, neo-Nazism and other threats the whole international community needs to be consolidated. ... We are open for such cooperation."

An aerial show by Russia's air force, including warplanes that have flown missions to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's army, was canceled because of low visibility.

Smaller parades were held in cities across Russia, in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula, which Russia annexed three years ago, as well as at Russia's Hmeimim air base in Syria.

Moldovan President Igor Dodon was the only foreign dignitary to attend the Moscow parade. In prior years, leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping had attended.

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Tuesday's parade was the first time Russia had showcased its Tor-M and Pantsir SA air defense systems, painted in the white and black colors of the country's Arctic forces.

Also on display were columns of troops, tanks and Russia's Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system.

Putin said: "The Russian soldier today, as in all times, showing courage and heroism, is ready for any feat, for any sacrifice for the sake of his motherland and people." (Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov, Alexander Winning and Denis Dyomkin; editing by Ralph Boulton)

RELATED: Russian protesters call for Putin to quit

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 29: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian opposition activist Mark Galperin (C) speeches during an opposition rally in Central Moscow, Russia, April, 29, 2017. Hundreds activists were gathered by the Open Russia opposition movement near the Presidential Administration to bring their letters calling Vladimir Putin not to run the 2018 Presidential Elections. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 29: Opposition activist Maria Baronova (L) , and pro-Kremlin political activist Maria Katasonova (R) meet before an unsanctioned protest in downtown in Moscow, Russia on April 29, 2017. Several hundred demonstrators are gathered in central Moscow, trying to move to the nearby presidential administration building to present letters calling on Vladimir Putin not to run for a fourth term in office in 2018. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 29: An opposition supporter wearing tape on his mouth waits in queue outside the president's administrative office to hand in his petition against Vladimir Putin's expected candidacy in elections set for 2018, during a protest rally in Moscow, Russia on April 29, 2017. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 29: Opposition activist Maria Baronova (L) and pro-Kremlin political activist Maria Katasonova (R) meet before an unsanctioned protest in downtown in Moscow, Russia on April 29, 2017. Several hundred demonstrators are gathered in central Moscow, trying to move to the nearby presidential administration building to present letters calling on Vladimir Putin not to run for a fourth term in office in 2018. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - APRIL 29: Police take protesters into custody during a rally that urging Vladimir Putin not to run for a fourth term for Presidential elections in Kazan, Russia on April 29, 2017. (Photo by Alexey Nasyrov/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAINT-PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - APRIL 29: Police take protesters into custody during a rally that urging Vladimir Putin not to run for a fourth term for Presidential elections at Gorkovskaya subway station in Saint-Petersburg, Russia on April 29, 2017. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 29: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian riot policemen awaits for the beginning of an opposition rally in Central Moscow, Russia, April, 29, 2017. Hundreds activists were gathered by the Open Russia opposition movement near the Presidential Administration to bring their letters calling Vladimir Putin not to run the 2018 Presidential Elections. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
SAINT-PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - APRIL 29: Protesters are seen during a rally that urging Vladimir Putin not to run for a fourth term for Presidential elections at Gorkovskaya subway station in Saint-Petersburg, Russia on April 29, 2017. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Opposition supporters wait in queue outside the president's administrative office to deliver letters calling for Vladimir Putin not to stand for a fourth term in 2018, during a protest rally in Moscow, April 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Natalia KOLESNIKOVA (Photo credit should read NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers detain an activist during a protest rally calling for Vladimir Putin not to stand for a fourth term in 2018, in Saint Petersburg on April 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Olga MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)
Interior Ministry officers detain a participant of an opposition protest, calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin not to run for another presidential term next year, in St. Petersburg, Russia, April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Interior Ministry officers maintain order as people stand in a queue to get to an office of the presidential administration during an opposition protest, calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin not to run for another presidential term next year, in Moscow, Russia, April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
An Interior Ministry officer maintains order near people, who stand in a queue to get to an office of the presidential administration during an opposition protest, calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin not to run for another presidential term next year, in Moscow, Russia, April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
People protest against what they see as the government?s pro-Russia policies near the Russian embassy in Budapest, Hungary, April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
People protest against what they see as the government?s pro-Russia policies near the Russian embassy in Budapest, Hungary, April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
Alexander Litreev, developer of the "Red Button" phone application used to tackle police detention of protesters at demonstrations across the country, poses for a picture in Moscow, Russia, April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
Open Russia movement coordinator Maria Baronova (2nd R), surrounded by journalists and an Interior Ministry officer, walks during a protest, calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin not to run for another presidential term next year, in central Moscow, Russia, April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
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