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  Saturday, November 28, 2020
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In the runup to V-E Day, residents of Berlin are commemorating Soviet soldiers killed in the Second World War
the runup to V-E Day, residents of Berlin are commemorating Soviet soldiers killed in the Second World War, laying flowers and wreaths in the Treptower Park, Tiergarten, and the memorial cemetery at Schoenholzer Heide, in the north of the German capital. The commemorative events, staged by Russia's Embassy in Berlin, have drawn WWII veterans, clergymen, diplomats, and politicians from Russia, the CIS, and Germany. The centerpiece of the Treptower Park's War Memorial is the 30-meter figure of a Russian soldier, with a saved German girl in his arms. The soldier is also holding a sword to break the Nazi swastika into pieces. He had flowers laid at his feet today by architects and workers who had spent the past few months restoring the monument. The small girl in the Soviet soldier's arms is an epitome of Europe saved from Nazism, a symbol of the Victory which cost the Soviet people nearly 30 million lives, Russian Ambassador Vladimir Kotenev said at a ceremony at the Treptower Park Friday. He also said that "the German people are taking heed of the call for peace that is coming from this war memorial" and that "the modern-day Germany has been making a great contribution to the cause of peace in Europe." The Russian Ambassador expressed his appreciation for the efforts of those involved in the restoration of the Treptower monument, the final resting place to some 7,500 Soviet officers and men. He also thanked German authorities for fully meeting intergovernmental agreement obligations as to the maintenance of the Soviet war monuments in the country. There are about 500 Soviet burial sites across eastern Germany. Some 350,000 Soviet soldiers found their final resting place here. Berlin alone has over a dozen monuments and memorials to Soviets killed just hours before the end of WWII. Over 100,000 Soviet officers and men lost their lives in storming Berlin. Another 3,500 burial sites are located in the western part of Germany. Buried here are more than 800,000 Soviet prisoners of war and civilians exterminated by the Third Reich. In 1953, Germany enacted a law classifying all these sites as "graveyards of war and tyranny victims" and prescribing special measures to maintain them.
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