The Russian armed forces show of might during their annual Navy Day celebrations with parades and processions was a calculated move to counter US power across the globe, show the increasingly close ties with China and an affirmation of their support for Syria. The parade in the Syrian city of Tartous was a first for the Russian military. Interestingly enough it was not attended by President Assad.

Navy Day is a national holiday for Russians on which huge parades are held in St Petersburg – Moscow’s second largest city and the home of the Navy – on the last Sunday of July.

There are usually smaller processions at Russian naval bases across the vast country as well as around the world, including Crimea, annexed in 2014, and for the first time this year, the regime-held Syrian city of Tartous.

The Russian and Russian navy flags were raised in the city on Sunday as six warships and a Black Sea Fleet submarine took part in the celebrations, Russia state news agency Interfax reported, accompanied by jets from the nearby Hmeymim air base.