Putin says Russia's nuclear forces are 'always' on alert in Victory Day speech

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned his nuclear forces were "always" on alert and added that Moscow would not tolerate any Western threats during an address on the annual Victory Day parade.

In a defiant speech on Red Square before thousands of soldiers dressed in ceremonial attire, Putin heaped praise on his army fighting in Ukraine and accused "Western elites" of fomenting conflicts around the world.

"Russia will do everything to prevent a global clash, but at the same time we will not allow anyone to threaten us. Our strategic forces are always on alert," Putin told the crowd.

"Dear friends, Russia is now going through a difficult, crucial period. The fate of the Motherland, its future depends on each of us," he said.

The May 9 parade marks the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II and has become Russia's most important public holiday as Putin puts the country firmly on a combat footing.

"Modern military technology is changing very fast. If we want to be successful, we always have to be one step ahead," he said in a meeting with army commanders.

'Russia is with you'

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