Putin to host Russia WWII parade ahead of key vote

first_imgThe 67-year-old will survey a display of modern military might involving over 13,000 troops, with more than 20 items of hardware on show for the first time including Tosochka flame-throwers, T-90M tanks and Buk-M3 surface-to-air missile systems.Vintage vehicles such as the workhorse T-34 tank will also be on display and some troops will wear World War II uniforms.Putin, whose two-year-old brother died as Nazis encircled Leningrad, has sought to associate his regime with the most revered aspect of the Soviet era: wartime victory.Ahead of the parade, he slammed the West for “insulting Russia” by playing down the USSR’s role in winning the war.While Putin has pushed for the parade, some have voiced fears over the risk of infection, with mass public events still formally banned in Moscow.The event will see troops from 13 countries including China and India marching and more than 200 military vehicles rolling down central streets. ‘Historic truth’ More than a dozen Russian cities and regions have opted not to hold parades on the same day, citing virus risks, although events will go ahead in cities including Saint Petersburg and Volgograd.Showing jitters, both Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov have advised people to watch it on television rather than attend in person.”Why in hell are you holding it if you don’t recommend going?” top opposition politician Alexei Navalny asked in a live blog.At rehearsals, troops were wearing masks and rubber gloves but they will not do so on the day, an army source told AFP.Preference was given to troops with virus antibodies, the defense ministry said.Seated at intervals in the stands will be veterans who have been quarantined ahead of the event in sanatoriums, Putin’s spokesman Peskov said.French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are among international leaders who were initially set to attend but have since cancelled.However, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko and Chinese defense minister Wei Fenghe are expected to be there.Putin has angered some by fast-tracking the parade and the constitution vote while he remains carefully shielded from the virus.The opposition slammed him for timing the vote to benefit from a mood of patriotism straight after the parade.Navalny questioned why “this fraudulent, fake vote has to be dressed up with victory celebrations and victory symbols like tinsel”.One Moscow billboard urging Russians to vote shows a little girl in World War II uniform with the slogan: “We’ll protect the memory of our ancestors.”The constitutional amendments proposed by Putin include one honoring war victims and defending “historic truth”. Thousands of Russian troops will march in Moscow on Wednesday as President Vladimir Putin brushes off virus fears to host a World War II commemoration ahead of a crucial vote on his rule.The military display in Red Square to mark 75 years since the Soviet victory in World War II had been scheduled for May 9 but the Kremlin postponed it citing requests from veterans, as coronavirus cases shot up.Putin rescheduled the event as soon as lockdown measures eased, keen to move on from an outbreak that has hit his country hard. With more than 8,000 recorded fatalities and around 580,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections, Russia has the pandemic’s third largest caseload after the United States and Brazil.The parade coincides with the anniversary of the first post-war parade on Red Square, which saw Soviet troops throw down Nazi standards in front of the Lenin mausoleum on June 24, 1945.It comes just a week ahead of a national vote on constitutional amendments that would allow Putin, in power since 2000, to reset his term-limit clock to zero and stay in the Kremlin until 2036.The parade will be Putin’s first major appearance in public since the pandemic, after he attended an open-air flag-raising ceremony on June 12. Topics :last_img read more

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Over 13,000 S. African health workers contract coronavirus

first_imgA combination of a recent spike in infections, staff shortages and a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been blamed for the infection increases.A recent report by South Africa’s National Institute for Occupational Health said hospital admissions of health workers were increasing weekly in line with the national trend of rising numbers of admissions.The data revealed that by July 12, some 2.6 percent of COVID-19 hospital admissions in South Africa were healthcare workers.Those infected included nurses, doctors, porters, administrators, paramedics and laboratory scientists.  Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told parliament earlier this month that “since the COVID-19 pandemic, PPE supply chains have become severely constrained”. WHO Africa chief Moeti said it was critical to ensure health workers “have the equipment, skills and information they need to keep themselves, their patients and colleagues safe”.Sub-Saharan Africa has recorded more than 750,000 coronavirus cases, including 15,000 deaths. Topics : Coronavirus has infected some 13,000 South African health workers and killed more than 100 of them, the health ministry said Thursday, as the virus takes a toll on frontline caregivers.South Africa holds the highest number of infections on the continent with 408,052 recorded cases and 5,940 deaths so far.It is also the world’s fifth worst-affected country in terms of diagnosed infections.center_img Health ministry spokesman Popo Maja told AFP that 13,174 health workers had become infected as of Tuesday, including 103 deaths and 6,394 people declared recovered.South Africa’s statistics were unveiled as the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that more than 10,000 health workers in 40 countries had been sickened by the virus.”The growth we are seeing in COVID-19 cases in Africa is placing an ever-greater strain on health services across the continent,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, at a news conference on Thursday. “This has very real consequences for the individuals who work in them, and there is no more sobering example of this than the rising number of health worker infections,” she said.last_img read more

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