Russian President Vladimir Putin attended Russia’s Navy Day celebrations at St. Petersburg’s Neva River on Sunday, where he joined thousands for a sea and air parade.

Up to 4,000 Navy men as well as more than 40 ships and submarines took part in the parade, while planes and helicopters flew above the city. In a speech,

Putin congratulated the Russian Navy as it “successfully completes the country’s defense tasks, makes a significant contribution to the fight against international terrorism.”

He also underlined its “important role in ensuring strategic parity.” The Russian naval forces received a special mention for their “highest level of combat training, strategic, tactical and operational capabilities.”

Navy Day is a national holiday celebrated in Russia on July 30. The naval parade dates back to the Soviet era, having first been established in 1939. It was stopped in 1980 and later reinstated by Putin in 2003.

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