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Putin hails Crimea joining Russia on Victory Day visit

President Vladimir Putin has hailed the Crimea region joining Russia as he visited the area for the first time since it was annexed from Ukraine in March.

Putin delivered a speech in the city of Sevastopol and watched a parade of Russian navy ships and a flyby of Russian aircraft which marked Victory Day - the World War Two defeat of Nazi Germany.

Ukraine has condemned Putin's visit as trampling on international law and deliberately escalating the crisis.

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Vladimir Putin attends military parade in Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has attended a Victory Day parade in Sevastopol, Crimea, marking his first visit to the area since it was annexed in March.

His visit to the region is likely to outrage the West and has already been denounced by the Ukrainian government, with the foreign ministry calling it a "deliberate escalation" of the crisis.

Putin flew to Crimea after attending a military parade in Moscow, which was making the anniversary of the World War Two victory over Nazi Germany.

No Ukraine flags in sight at Donetsk Victory Day parade

A Victory Day parade celebrating the Soviet victory in World War Two is being held in Donetsk, Ukraine, but Ukrainian flags are nowhere to be seen.

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates has tweeted from Donetsk, Ukraine:

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Vladimir Putin attends Victory Day parade in Moscow

A huge Victory Day parade has been held in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin praising the "iron will of the Soviet people," which saved Europe from slavery.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu salutes during the parade. Credit: REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

The military ceremony is held to mark the Soviet victory in World War Two and comes as tensions continue to rise in Ukraine with Russian nationalism high after the annexation of Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shares a joke with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Credit: REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

Putin may fly to the city of Sevastopol in Crimea today to take part in the planned Victory Day parade, according to Russian media.

Russian cannons at the Kremlin wall are fired during a Victory Day parade in Red Square. Credit: AP Photo/Denis Tyrin

Russian troops 'will return to base after exercises end'

Russian troops near the Ukrainian border will return to its permanent bases after completing its military exercises, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said, calling for a "de-escalation" of rhetoric.

According to Reuters, Mr Lavrov said that he is expecting answers from NATO on the military alliance's activity in Eastern Europe.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls for 'de-escalation' of rhetoric over Ukraine. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
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