Moscow is hosting meeting of WW II veterans from allied countries

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In the Alexander Garden at the foot of the Kremlin wall the veterans laid flowers at the memorable stele of Hero City Leningrad, the Eternal Flame and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. A meeting of World War II veterans from allied countries began in Moscow on Tuesday. It brought together delegates from Russia, France and the United States.

In the Alexander Garden at the foot of the Kremlin wall the veterans laid flowers at the memorable stele of Hero City Leningrad, the Eternal Flame and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On the list of other sites the veterans are to visit during the tour of Russia is Moscow's Red Square, Victory Museum, Patriot Park, Lenin's Mausoleum and the Cathedral of the Archangel. In St. Petersburg, the veterans will attend a gala concert at the Hermitage Theater and visit the Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad and the St. Isaac's Cathedral. On October 29, there will be a commemoration ceremony at the Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery in honor of the defenders and residents of the city during the Nazi siege.

“There were nine of us in the family. Five died during the siege: my grandpa and grandma, my little sister and my brother and mother. My father was killed on the frontline. First, they sent me to an orphanage and then I was adopted by a working class family. I am a historian and such meetings always hold importance for me,” a survivor of the siege of Leningrad, Sergey Sukhorukov, told TASS.

French veteran Vilfrid Maak said he was literally brimming with emotion.

“This is my first trip to Russia. The way we have been received and welcomed is amazing. Our emotions that we have today are overwhelming. Without the Soviet Union, that war might have lasted for many years. The USSR's contribution was very significant,” he told TASS.

US veteran Harold Radish, too, addressed the media with a reminder of the historical role of the Soviet Union in World War II.

“Quite an honor to be here. It's an important point in my life. I thank the Russians very much for helping us. They helped the United States by saving a lot of our troops. The Russians paid for it heavily. They saved us and saved our lives, and for that I thank them,” Radish said.

The veterans' meeting is being held by the Foundation for the Promotion of Russian-French Historical Initiatives as part of a larger project devoted to the defense of Leningrad. The foundation says on its website the project is a tribute to the soldiers of the Red Army and the Russian civilian population, who became victims during the German invasion of 1941. The St. Petersburg authorities, Russian National Guard, Defense Ministry, Culture Ministry and the Russian Veterans' Union support the project.

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