Vladimir Putin scrapped his Victory Day flypast at the last minute because ‘he was afraid of an aerial strike’, it has been claimed.
The military parade was scheduled to include 77 planes in the display of military might over Moscow’s Red Square yesterday.
Among the planes were his ‘Doomsday’ Ilyushin Il-80 which allows the Kremlin leader to continue ruling Russia during a nuclear war.
But Putin pulled the plug on the flypast abruptly before the parade, blaming poor weather.
Airshows were also aborted or curtailed in at least ten other cities.
The Russian Ilyushin Il-80 ‘Doomsday’ plane flies over Moscow during a Victory Day rehearsal on Saturday
The military parade was scheduled to include 77 planes in the display of military might over Moscow’s Red Square yesterday (pictured: Putin watching on the celebrations)
Yet the sun came out in Moscow during the parade, and in Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg there were completely clear skies.
‘We need to explain why the aerial part of the Victory Parade was cancelled,’ reported General SVR Telegram channel, an anti-Putin Russian outlet that claims to have an insider source in the Kremlin.
‘The reason in Moscow is simple. Russian president Vladimir Putin was afraid of a possible strike from the air.’
The report does not make clear whether it was claiming he feared sabotage by a kamikaze attack or a missile during the low flypast.
The news source claimed Putin’s entourage was aware he was ‘paranoid’ over the possibility of an attack amid the war in Ukraine.
Russian MiG-31bm fighter jets, a Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber and Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refueling tanker fly over Red Square in a rehearsal last week
The Moscow parade was cancelled for this reason, said the channel.
‘In other regions the aerial part of the parade was axed… for ‘company’, so that the cancellation in Moscow would not cause undue attention.’
The 77 planes – including strategic bombers – had rehearsed extensively for the show.
In previous years, if bad weather was an issue, Putin, 69, sent up a fleet of ‘weather-changing’ aircraft to spike the clouds with a chemical cocktail of silver iodide, liquid nitrogen and dry ice to ensure rain stayed away from Red Square and instead fell on villages outside Moscow.
But the An-26 planes were not deployed on Monday.
Russian analyst and investigative journalist Christo Grozev acknowledged the sabotage version and said in an interview: ‘We will soon find out.
The 77 planes – including strategic bombers – had rehearsed extensively for the show
‘All these conspiracy theories…have the right to exist because this is a special year which attempts to sabotage Russian troops and power.
‘It is logical during a war.
‘That’s why more paranoid measures were taken, although any hint that some pilot misbehaved yesterday, well, it could cause it all to be cancelled.’
There were also claims that Putun’s Doomsday plane had a ‘technical malfunction’, said Grozev, who is associated with British-based Bellingcat open source research group which has run investigations on Russian corruption.
‘I am sure that we will most likely find out the [real] cause in the coming days.’
Kyiv sources today said the Russian cancellations were due to fears of strikes against the plans by hand-held Ukrainian missiles.
The ‘bad weather’ pretext was bogus, said a report by Ukrainian outlet UNIAN.
General SVR channel first made claims about Putin’s health – including abdominal cancer, Parkinson’s disease and a schizoaffective disorder – some 18 months ago, and now says the Russian president is due to face surgery soon.
Recently such reports of oncology and possible Parkinson’s have gained more credence but the Kremlin insists he is healthy.
The channel has been linked to Professor Valery Solovey, 61, who in February, was held for a seven hour interrogation apparently possibly linked to the regular claims about Putin’s supposed medical and mental condition .
Solovoy was a professor at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) – attended by future top diplomats and spies.