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VOLGOGRAD, February 2 (Itar-Tass) – President Vladimir Putin visited the Mamayev Kurgan war memorial in Volgograd on Saturday, February 2.
He has arrived in the city to attend celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad.
Accompanied by war veterans, Putin laid wreaths at the Eternal Flame in the Hall of Fame at the foot of the mound on which the “Motherland Calls” monument stands.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Defence Ministry Sergei Shoigu and Volgograd Region Governor Sergei Bozhenov also laid flowers.
The president then talked with the war veterans.
The Mamayev kurgan, which means mound, played a critical role in the Battle of Stalingrad. The Soviet troops held it for 140 days, fighting back the advancing Nazi forces. The fact that some 500 to 1,250 pieces of artillery shells were found in each square metres of soil on the mound after the battle indicates how fierce the struggle was. No grass grew on the mound in the spring of 1943.
The Mamayev Kurgan war memorial was inaugurated in 1967 and has been one of the most recognisable symbols of the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War in the world.