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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow on Thursday.

Russia is gearing up for hugely patriotic celebrations of its victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, with a series of military parades planned all over the country on Friday.

Vladimir Putin lays flowers at a polished stone block bearing the inscription Kiev, one of a series of memorials honoring cities of the former Soviet Union and the sites of major World War II battles, in Moscow on May 8, 2014.KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP - Getty Images