Stalingrad was the bloodiest battle of World War Two, when the Soviet Red Army, at a cost of over 1 million casualties, broke the back of German invasion forces in 1942 to 1943.
Putin evoked what he said was the spirit of the defenders of Stalingrad to explain why he thought Russia would prevail in Ukraine, saying the World War II battle had become a symbol of “the indestructible nature of our people”.
“Those who draw European countries, including Germany, into a new war with Russia, and … expect to win a victory over Russia on the battlefield, apparently don’t understand that a modern war with Russia will be quite different for them,” he added.
“We don’t send our tanks to their borders but we have the means to respond, and it won’t end with the use of armoured vehicles, everyone must understand that.”
As Putin finished speaking, the audience gave him a standing ovation.
Putin had earlier laid flowers at the grave of the Soviet marshal who oversaw the defence of Stalingrad and visited the city’s main memorial complex, where he held a minute’s silence in honour of those who died during the battle.
Thousands of people lined Volgograd’s streets to watch a victory parade as planes flew overhead and modern and World War II-era tanks and armoured vehicles rolled past.
Some of the modern vehicles had the letter ‘V’ painted on them, a symbol used by Russia’s forces in Ukraine.