Russian war veterans quarantined before watching parade with Putin, says Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian war veterans due to join President Vladimir Putin to review a June 24 military parade on Red Square are being quarantined at health resorts beforehand to protect their own health and that of others, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

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The parade, originally scheduled for May 9, is designed to mark the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, but was postponed due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The move to quarantine the veterans beforehand would help safeguard Putin from getting the virus.

The Kremlin said earlier this week that Putin was protected from the coronavirus by special disinfection tunnels that anyone visiting his residence outside Moscow or meeting him in the Kremlin must pass through.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a group of war veterans was now in quarantine at sanatoriums and rest homes in “lovely conditions.”

“Above all there is a concern for their health, since they will be there together and chatting with one another,” he said.

Taking such precautionary measures was important, he added, and it was a good opportunity for veterans to receive additional medical care.

The annual parade is a raw display of military strength and patriotism that has become a hallmark of Putin’s rule.

Some cities have postponed their own military parades however, citing the coronavirus, but in Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak, plans remain in place, with a rehearsal taking place on Wednesday evening.

Russia had registered 561,091 cases of the coronavirus and 7,660 deaths as of Thursday.

Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Heinrich