More than 3,000 soldiers marched in Minsk on Saturday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Crowds of spectators including WWII veterans watched the parade which included some 150 vehicles and 40 aircraft.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko delivered a speech at the parade, criticising suggestions to cancel the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"In this insane, disoriented world, there will be people who condemn us for the time and place of this sacred act," he stated.

"I would like to say to them: don't rush to conclusions or condemn us, descendants of the victory of Belarusians. We simply couldn't have acted differently. We had no other choice. And even if we had one, we would have done the same," added Lukashenko.

Belarus is the only ex-Soviet country to hold the parade as others, including eastern neighbour Russia, have postponed the annual event due to the pandemic.

On Saturday Belarus' reported coronavirus cases had climbed to more than 20,000 for its population of 9.5 million, 121 of whom have died.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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