On the eve of commemorations in Russia for the end of World War II, President Dmitry Medvedev met veterans at a ceremony in Moscow’s Armed forces Museum.
Several of the former soldiers invited him to join them in the mobile kitchen trailer in the Museum’s courtyard. They were all wearing medals denoting personal courage and distinguished service.
The president thanked them for their part in the victory over the Nazis and led them in a toast to the public holiday which has become known as ‘Victory Day’.
While Russia holds its main commemorations on May 9, France holds its on May 8.
Before the formal ceremony in Paris, President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Port-Louis in Brittany which has a special place in French war history. Soldiers there fought longer than elsewhere, being one of the last places where German troops finally surrendered.
Meanwhile in Austria at the former Nazi concentration camp of Mauthausen, Holocaust survivors remembered the 100,000 prisoners who died there.