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Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a wreath laying ceremony to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall in central Moscow, Russia February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin


MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin laid a wreath in snowy central Moscow on Thursday to mark the Defenders of the Fatherland holiday, which honours Russian and Soviet military efforts.

Putin was joined by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin.

Across the city, Russian communists carried portraits of former dictator Josef Stalin and Soviet revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin as they marched through the Russian capital to celebrate the national holiday.

(Writing by Patrick Johnston in LONDON; Editing by Toby Davis)