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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Jets, Guns but No Victory Day Tanks

There won't be any tanks or missile launchers, but with 7,000 troops, military jets and a fireworks display, Red Square will once again be the center of attention for Victory Day festivities Wednesday as the country celebrates the 62nd anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.

The troops are to assemble on Red Square at 10 a.m. and will include veterans from World War II and the Afghan and Chechen conflicts. More than 200 of the troops will be dressed in World War II-era uniforms of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to congratulate the troops in his traditional speech, after which they will sing the national anthem a cappella, a tradition started last year. A division will fire gun salutes into the air during the rendition.

Vladimir Bakin, commander of the Moscow Military District, will lead the parade, while Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov will review the troops while standing in a ZiL cabriolet.

It will be the first Victory Day parade as defense minister for Serdyukov, a former furniture-store manager who worked his way up to become head of the Federal Tax Service before being named to replace Sergei Ivanov in February.

Putin will be the only head of state at this year's parade.

"As usual we have invited the diplomats of the Allied nations," a Kremlin spokesman said Monday.

To bring the parade to an end, nine planes from two Air Force squadrons -- Russkiye Vityazy and Strizhi -- will fly 400 meters over Red Square in rhombus formation at a speed of 600 kilometers per hour. The planes include five Su-27s and four MiG-29s.

After the parade, veterans are invited to a champagne reception at the Kremlin, hosted by Putin.

Gun salutes will be fired in every district of the city Wednesday evening, a total of 4,000 shots. At 10 p.m., a show of fireworks will light up the city from Red Square.

Authorities have resisted calls from Bakin and State Duma Deputy Valentin Varennikov to allow tanks and missile launchers back onto Red Square for the parade, a Moscow Military District spokesman said Monday.

No military vehicles will be on Red Square for the parade, the spokesman said.

Bakin said last week that tanks and missile launchers could return to Red Square during military parades.

The Iverskiye Gate, which was knocked down by the Soviets to let tanks pass for military parades on Red Square, has been reconstructed.

Red Square will be closed to the public all day Wednesday, but there is no shortage of alternative events.

Gorky Park, Lubyanskaya Ploshchad, Teatralnaya Ploshchad, Poklonnaya Gora, the Hermitage Garden and Tsentralny Park, among others, are hosting concerts, wreath-laying ceremonies and various events for veterans throughout the day.

The Planet Gold Club, an entrepreneurs' support organization, is putting on a Victory Ball at the Hermitage Garden at 6 p.m.

A Victory Train will deliver war veterans from Kievsky Station to Poklonnaya Gora. The first group will leave at 10 a.m., the second at an hour later.

Most central streets will be closed off due to the dozens of events organized by City Hall in various parks and squares, though the metro will be running almost as usual. From 6 a.m., the Boulevard Ring and all roads within it will be closed. Roads should be open again by midnight.

Metro passengers may experience minor delays Wednesday. From 7 a.m. until the end of the Red Square parade, the Okhotny Ryad, Ploshchad Revolyutsii, Alexandrovsky Sad and Borovitskaya metro stations will be open for passengers to change lines and to get onto trains only. Passengers will not be able to exit these metro stations for the duration of the parade.

The metro will also have war and victory songs, as well as poetry, playing over loudspeakers in all stations, a metro spokeswoman said Friday.

In a statement on its web site, the metro warned that the aforementioned stations and several others, including Vorobyovy Gory, Pushkinskaya and Oktyabrskaya might experience disruptions after the fireworks in the evening.

The Federal Meteorological Bureau is predicting scattered showers with a chance of thunder Wednesday, though Mayor Yury Luzhkov, in typical fashion, is expected to have planes seed oncoming clouds to prevent rain.