Russian fighters are among the separatist forces battling Ukraine's poorly equipped military for control of eastern provinces. A pullback of Moscow's troops could defuse tensions with the West.
The patrols and efforts to clean up barricades left by pro-Russia insurgents suggest a return to some kind of normalcy in Ukraine's restive east.
Putin praised Russia's 'iron will, fearlessness and steadfast courage' in World War II. He made only oblique references to the current crisis in Ukraine – but then headed to Sevastopol.