Russia has called off without explanation the annual May 9 army and naval parade in St. Petersburg that traditionally marks the anniversary of the Soviet World War II victory over the Nazis, DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report. All the military forces assembled in the city for the occasion were suddenly withdrawn, and the warships due to take part in a sea display sailed out of the port of St. Petersburg. They were seen docking at the nearby naval base of Kronstadt where their holds were loaded with ordnance
DEBKAfile’s military sources accounts for this unprecedented change of Russian plans by the arrival in the Polish port of Gdansk on the Baltic Sea of the USS Carney aircraft carrier, which is armed with the world’s most sophisticated weaponry systems. This vessel is capable of operating as an independent unit or as part of a naval strike force. Moscow has never before called off one of the most important events on Russia’s national calendar scheduled to take place in its second city. Our military sources take it to mean that Russia’s deepening military involvement in the Syrian war and the Ukraine conflict has left its army short of strategic reserves for defending the homeland.