Ceremonies in Moscow and Kyiv to remember the day the German army invaded the Soviet UnionComments
A solemn ceremony in Moscow to commemorate the day the Great Patriotic War started. June 22 1941 was when the the German army turned east and crossed the border of the then Soviet Union.
Nearly four years of war followed in which over 20 million Russian citizens were killed.
Veterans and soldiers, many dressed in Soviet military uniforms laid wreaths at the World War II monument in Victory Park.
Earlier at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Kremlin Wall President Vladimir Putin led the commemorations.
In Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko together with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk took part in a wreath laying ceremony and called on the audience to observe a minute’s silence.
After the president mixed and chatted with veterans who had witnessed the invasion.
Borders have changed in the 74 years and its unclear if Kyiv will commemorate the June date in the future.
“June 22 is our own tribute to Ukrainian victims, those who died between 1941 and 1944. And because these people who witnessed June 22 1941 are still very much alive it’s too early to say that this day is not important for Ukraine anymore. What will happen later? It’s up to new generations to decide,” explained Serhiy Hromenko, historian at the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance
This year for the first time in Ukraine’s history Remembrance Day was held on May 8 for victims of World War II as Ukrainian authorities wanted to mark it in unison with Europe and not with Russia where May 9 is celebrated as Victory Day.