May 9 Russia fired cruise missiles at Kyiv on Tuesday and paraded troops and vintage equipment across Red Square in a curtailed celebration of victory in World War Two, while Kyiv fended off the air strikes and hosted the head of the European Union.

In a fiery 10-minute speech in front of the Kremlin walls, Russian President Vladimir Putin thundered against “Western global elites” and said Russia again faced an existential threat.

“Today, civilisation is again at a decisive turning point. A real war has been unleashed against our homeland,” said the Russian leader, who last year ordered what the West calls an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, destroying cities and killing thousands of civilians.

A flyover of warplanes over Moscow was cancelled, and parades in some other cities were scaled back or called off, amid security concerns – including drones that exploded over the Kremlin citadel itself last week – and shortages of troops and arms at the front.

Moscow denies targeting civilians and says its air strikes are aimed at reducing Ukraine’s ability to fight.

Kyiv symbolised its break from Moscow this year by shifting its observance of the World War Two Victory to May 8 in line with European allies; on May 9 it celebrated a declaration that led to the founding of the body that became the European Union.

“Good to be back in Kyiv. Where the values we hold dear are defended everyday,” the EU’s von der Leyen tweeted, calling it a “such a fitting place to celebrate the day of Europe”.

“Today Putin is showing off his soldiers, tanks and missiles. We must not be intimidated by such power games! Let us remain steadfast in our support for Ukraine – as long as it takes!”-German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in his speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg said.