| 13.7°C Dublin

Vladimir Putin meets veterans on anniversary of Nazi invasion of Soviet Union

The Russian president visited the newly built cathedral for the country’s military.

Close

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu lights a candle after a religion service marking the 79th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, at the Cathedral in the Patriot Par (Alexei Nikolsky/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu lights a candle after a religion service marking the 79th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, at the Cathedral in the Patriot Par (Alexei Nikolsky/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu lights a candle after a religion service marking the 79th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, at the Cathedral in the Patriot Par (Alexei Nikolsky/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin marked the date of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union by meeting with veterans and visiting a new military church.

Mr Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Kremlin wall and greeted Second World War veterans.

He also visited the newly built main cathedral of the Russian military on Moscow’s western outskirts.

Nazi Germany invaded the USSR on June 22 1941, starting nearly four years of fighting that killed 27 million Soviet people and left the western part of the country in ruins.

Close

Vladimir Putin greets Second World War veterans (Alexei Nikolsky/AP)

Vladimir Putin greets Second World War veterans (Alexei Nikolsky/AP)

AP/PA Images

Vladimir Putin greets Second World War veterans (Alexei Nikolsky/AP)

“It was a terrible and massive tragedy that claimed millions of lives, leaving behind devastation and irreparable pain of loss, deep never-healing wounds,” Mr Putin said, addressing soldiers outside the cathedral.

Victory Day, marking the Nazi defeat in the Second World War, is Russia’s most important secular holiday, celebrated on May 9.

This year, the Red Square military parade marking it was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic and will be held on Wednesday.

PA Media