Vladimir Putin’s most charming goodwill ambassadors — the Night Wolves biker gang — may have been outside the country spreading fraternal amity in Northern Europe on the 70th anniversary of V-E Day.
But there was still plenty going on back home in Mother Russia. The Daily Mail has the scoop on a BUK anti-air missile vehicle that caught fire during the V-E Day parade in Chita, in Siberia.
The BUK system was slowly passing through Lenin Square in the Siberian city of Chita as part of the Victory parade celebrations taking place across Russia when it was suddenly engulfed in flames.
The missile system is believed to have been used to down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in last year’s crash over eastern Ukraine in which all 298 on board were killed.
Observers said the mobile BUK missile M1 system’s engine possibly caught fire because of an oil leak.
The BUK vehicle wasn’t the only piece of equipment that malfunctioned during a V-E Day-related event.
It follows the hugely embarrassing episode last week when one of Russia’s state-of-the-art T-14 Armata ground to a halt while others drove on in a Victory parade rehearsal.
The engine was still rumbling, but it would not move.
After an attempt to tow it failed, the T-14 rolled away under its own steam about 15 minutes later.
It wouldn’t be a Russian military commemoration if there weren’t performing animals.
Even the seals in Russia have caught the patriotic mood sweeping Vladimir Putin’s country.
At an aquarium in Siberia, they were pictured wearing military headgear, raising a flag, carrying knives in their mouths, and shooting at a target.
The seals – called Winnie the Pooh and Laska – have been trained to swim, march underwater and carry ‘rifles’.
Perhaps one of our reader correspondents can tell us how “Winnie the Pooh” is rendered in Russian.
The U.S. may not have had a high-ranking government representative at Russia’s main commemoration in Moscow, but really, who needed one? Steven Seagal was there.
So, OK, maybe you didn’t really need to see that.
Sic transit gloria mundi.