Vladimir Putin Marks Moscow's 'Victory Day' With Visit to Crimea

PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, and Russias Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov watch events to mark Victory Day in Sevastopol May 9, 2014.
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Few people had been treated with such fanfare since the Beatles landed in the United States half a century ago -- until today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was greeted with a welcome fit for a homecoming king when he arrived in Crimea for the first time since Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in March.

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PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol, May 9, 2014.
Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol, May 9, 2014.

PHOTO: Russias President Vladimir Putin, center and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, watch Russian Air Force parade during their visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol, May 9, 2014.
Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: Russia's President Vladimir Putin, center and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, watch Russian Air Force parade during their visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol, May 9, 2014.

It was a busy day full of pageantry for the Russian leader, who began the morning in Moscow's Red Square at a military parade.

The crowd of veterans, officials, and foreign dignitaries went wild when, after the troops marched in, the first armored personnel carrier rumbled through the square flying a Crimean flag. It was followed by the usual columns of tanks, artillery, and missiles. After that, helicopters and fighter jets streaked low overhead.

PHOTO: Russias President Vladimir Putin, center, and World War II veterans law flowers at a war memorial during their visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopo, May 9, 2014.
Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: Russia's President Vladimir Putin, center, and World War II veterans law flowers at a war memorial during their visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopo, May 9, 2014.

Putin, who has made it clear he has no interest in adding cold locales, such as Alaska, to his empire, was then whisked away to the picturesque seaside town of Sevastopol in Crimea.

Putin's visit to the former holiday hotspot coincided with Victory Day, the annual celebration when Moscow flexes its military muscle to celebrate the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, attends a Victory Day parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 2014.
Mikhail Klimentyev/AP Photo
PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, attends a Victory Day parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 2014.

PHOTO: Ukrainian cadets salute at the Unknown Soldier monument during a ceremony marking Victory Day in Kiev, Ukraine on May 9, 2014.
Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: Ukrainian cadets salute at the Unknown Soldier monument during a ceremony marking Victory Day in Kiev, Ukraine on May 9, 2014.

The holiday, similar to Memorial Day in the United States wasn't marked with barbecues and beach time. Instead, the Russians marked it with a show of military might that looked a lot like the Soviet Union of the 1980s.

PHOTO: A Russian serviceman aboard an armored personnel carrier salutes next to the blue-white-red tricolor flag of Crimea, during the Victory Day parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 2014.
Grigory Dukor/Reuters
PHOTO: A Russian serviceman aboard an armored personnel carrier salutes next to the blue-white-red tricolor flag of Crimea, during the Victory Day parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 2014.

Putin was flanked by decorated military men and was treated like a conquering hero in Crimea, where a half-dozen warships were anchored in the harbor. Some people in the crowd wore Putin T-shirts, while others waved Russian flags.

PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a Victory Day parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 2014.
Mikhail Klimentyev/AP Photo
PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a Victory Day parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 2014.

Putin, known for enjoying outdoor activities shirtless, instead wore a suit and tie as he paraded around the port city of Sevastopol. Adoring crowds lined the harbor and square, hoping to catch a glimpse of the steely leader, who spoke to onlookers through a microphone.

"I am sure that 2014 will go into the annals of our whole country as the year when the nations living here firmly decided to be together with Russia, affirming fidelity to the historical truth and the memory of our ancestors," Putin said, according to the BBC.

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