The celebration of the 60th anniversary, Belarus’ liberation from the Nazi invaders, marks the beginning of a general great celebration – the 60th anniversary of the victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War, said Mr Putin at a meeting with veterans in Minsk.
Belarus played a special role in the war – it was the first to face the enemy’s attack, and for three years, until the liberation in 1944, it saw serious battles. Belarus was never enslaved, it always fought. It was from Belarus, with operation Bagration, that the liberation of the Soviet Union and Europe began.
President Putin, President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Leonid Kuchma also visited the Khatyn’memorial complex, which contains urns with ashes of 186 Belarussian villages that were burned down by the Nazis together with their inhabitants, and not rebuilt after the war.
The Presidents of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine placed wreathes on the Eternal Flame at the Khatyn’ memorial complex and observed a minute of silence in memory of the dead.