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Putin: Coronavirus Risks Too High to Begin Preparations for 9 May Parade

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The risks are too high to continue preparations for the parade celebrating the 75th anniversary of the World War II victory amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

"To prepare the parade of 9 May, the preparations should start right now. But the risks linked to the epidemic, which has not reached its peak yet, are extremely high. And this prevents me from beginning preparations for the parade and other mass events at the moment", Putin said at a meeting on security.

The president asked Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, senior law enforcement officials and regional authorities to change the schedule of preparations and postpone all mass events planned for the celebration of the 75th anniversary.

Russian tanks T-72 B3 drive during the Victory Day military parade - Sputnik International
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Kremlin Says Victory Day Parade in Moscow Surely to Take Place, Perhaps Not on 9 May
The Russian president's statement comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has spread all over the world. To date, almost 2.1 million people have been infected with the novel coronavirus worldwide, of which close to 140,000 have succumbed to the deadly virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Russia has registered 27,938 coronavirus cases so far. Of them, 16,146 are in Moscow.

Every year, parades to mark the WWII victory are held in almost every Russian city, with the largest one in Moscow. In addition, a number of other mass events are usually planned, including the nationwide Immortal Regiments marches aimed at preserving the memory of family members who had experienced war.

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