VOLGOGRAD, Russia Feb 4, 2018
Russia on Friday marked 75 years since the Soviet Union’s victory in the major World War II Battle of Stalingrad, extolled as a symbol of the country’s resilience at a time when President Vladimir Putin campaigns for his fourth term.
Putin flew to Volgograd, the current name of the city, which staged a military parade involving about 1,500 troops, armored vehicles and jets flying over a crowd of spectators bundled up to protect against the sub-zero temperatures.
The 1942-43 battle in the Volga river city was one of the bloodiest in history. It was a disastrous loss for Nazi Germany and is glorified by Russia as the event that saved Europe from Adolf Hitler.
“There was no other such battle in the history of mankind,” Putin told a crowd of veterans he met at the Volgograd Philharmonic for a concert commemorating the event.