Western experts agree – the Victory Day parade in Moscow showed how degraded the Russian army was during the 15 months of war in Ukraine. Its eloquent symbol was the historic T-34 – the only tank that appeared at the ceremony.

The conduct of the annual Victory Day parade in Red Square has highlighted the material and strategic communications challenges facing the Russian military after 15 months of war in Ukraine, the UK Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s daily intelligence update indicated that more than 8,000 people attended the parade, but most were auxiliaries, paramilitaries and cadets from military training establishments. The only personnel from deployed Regular Force formations were contingents of railroad troops and military police, and the vintage T-34 from the ceremonial unit was the only tank on parade.

“Despite the heavy losses in Ukraine, Russia could have fielded more armored vehicles. The authorities probably refrained from doing so because they want to avoid criticism at home for preferring parades over combat operations,” it said.

“During the celebrations on May 9, much less military equipment was demonstrated than usual (including the only T-34/85 from World War II, in the absence of modern tanks, which Russia badly needs in Ukraine). The celebrations showed the further degradation of the Russian army, despite the efforts Kremlin to reduce the importance of Victory Day by limiting the scale of parades and canceling events.

The Institute of Internal Affairs emphasizes that Vladimir Putin’s speech at the celebrations did not contain significant substantive changes. It was a repetition of previous narratives, preparing “for a protracted war” and presenting Russia as “effectively resisting the entire West.” As in previous public appearances, Putin did not present “any specific vision on how to reverse Russia’s military failures in Ukraine.”