Gaffe as tribute to Romania's war dead conducted at Russian memorial

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By Cristian Gherasim
Romanian soldiers lay wreaths at a Russian memorial at the cemetery in Turda
Romanian soldiers lay wreaths at a Russian memorial at the cemetery in Turda   -  Copyright  Manuela Moldovan

Soldiers in Romania were left red-faced after mistakingly laying wreaths at a Russian war memorial instead of honouring their compatriots.

It happened in the city of Turda on a special day to honour Romania's national heroes.

They had meant to honour Romania's war dead but the ceremony was instead directed towards fallen soldiers of the Red Army.

Romania was occupied by the Soviet Union towards the end of World War II and remained under direct Moscow influence until 1958.

“They were all with their backs turned to where the Romanian soldiers are buried," Manuela Moldovan, who spotted the error, told Euronews.

"The officials and military representatives could have easily prevented the blunder as the Russian memorial has Cyrillic writing on it.”

She said she was ignored when she scolded those carrying out the ceremony and tried to point out their mistake.

“I personally went to lay some flowers at the Romanian graves. Only then military men returned, picked up the misplaced wreaths and finally took them to the right place.”

Romania's Ministry of National Defence confirmed the incident to Euronews. A spokesman had earlier told local media it was an "unfortunate mistake".

Several hundred Romanian, Soviet, German and Hungarian soldiers, killed during WWII fighting for control of the region, are buried at the cemetery in Turda.

Towards the end of WWII, Romania, part of the Axis forces until then, joined the Allied forces for the remainder of the conflict. Romanian and Soviet soldiers then fought against German forces for the liberation of Turda in central Romania.

The incident happened on May 29 on Heroes' Day in Romania.