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PARIS, April 20 /TASS/. A French couple has decided to hand over the WWII military decorations earned by family members to the relatives of young Russian officer Alexander Prokhorenko who was killed in action in Syria on March 17, a source at the Russian embassy in Paris told TASS on Wednesday.
"He died like a hero and we are proud of his heroic feat," the Magues wrote in their letter to Russian Ambassador Alexander Orlov. "At this hour, our hearts are entirely with you," they said.
The military decorations, which the Magues family passed on to Prokhorenko’s widow and parents, include a War Cross with Bronze Palm Leaf with which the fighters of the Free French Forces were decorated during WWII; and a medal of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor which was awarded to the couple’s close relative for taking part in the French Resistance (against the Nazi occupation of France).
Jean-Claude and Michelin Magues made their noble gesture in a sign of "great fellow-feeling for Russia". They highly appreciated the efforts of Russian servicemen in fighting world terrorism. "These are our family decorations, and we think it would be right to hand them over to you," the Magues wrote.
The embassy said that the decorations would be handed over to Prokhorenko’s family soon. "Many Frenchmen have been writing letters to us these days. They are expressing solidarity with Prokhorenko’s family and are admiring his act of heroism. The keynote in many letters is that the Russian officer gave his life for universal human values," the Russian embassy said.
Senior Lieutenant Alexander Prokhorenko, 25, was tasked with guiding Russian warplanes to terrorist targets near the Tadmor populated locality in Homs province. He called an airstrike on himself when his position was surrounded by the militants.
Prokhorenko was born in Russia’s Orenburg region where he finished an Engineering School of Anti-Aircraft Missile Defense; he was later transferred to the Smolensk Academy of Anti-Aircraft Defense from which he graduated with honors.
The Russian president posthumously awarded the Hero of Russia title to Prokhorenko by decree on April 11.