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BRATISLAVA, May 5 /TASS/. Bikers from the Night Wolves motorcycling club who are making their second historical ride across Europe devoted to the Victory Day (The Roads of Victory - to Berlin) have honored the memory of Red Army servicemen who died in Slovakia during WWII. On Thursday, the bikers laid wreaths at the foot of the Slovak National Uprising memorial in Banska Bystrica (central Slovakia).
"Soviet and Slovak citizens fought shoulder to shoulder in the uprising that erupted on August 29, 1944. The victorious Red Army came to help them soon," Andrey Bobrovsky, who is in charge of the race this year, told TASS.
"One hundred and fifty bikers, club members from Russia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Austria and Kazakhstan, and more than 500 ordinary Slovaks took part in the memorial ceremony at Banska Bystrica," Bobrovsky said.
Last Wednesday, the Night Wolves honored the memory of Red Army soldiers in Bratislava and the town of Svidnik (eastern Slovakia). The bikers have covered almost 2,000 kilometers along Slovakia’s roads.
"The Slovaks are giving us a very warm welcome," Bobrovsky said.
More than 63,000 Red Army soldiers and officers died for the liberation of Slovakia from the Nazis during WWII.
The Night Wolves will leave Slovakia on Friday, May 6, and will head for Vienna, the capital of Austria. They will bow to the graves of Soviet soldiers in Prague on May 8 and will mark Victory Day in Berlin on May 9.
The bikers will participate in memorial events at the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park, the Soviet War Memorial in Sch·nholzer Heide and the Brandenburg Gates together with the employees of the Russian General Consulate and representatives of veteran organizations in Berlin on May 9, Bobrovsky said.
Alexander Zaldostanov, the Night Wolves head, said earlier that he expected the ride to be more massive this year. "The more our enemies and people whose aim is to rewrite history and humiliate the Victory will try to harm us, the more supporters we are going to get," Zaldostanov stressed.
"After our successful battle march last year, we want to repeat it this year too…It may become a good tradition in future to mark Victory Day on wheels or on bikes to be more precise," Zaldostanov said.
He himself could not travel to Europe this year because of the EU sanctions imposed on him.
The Night Wolves went on their first ride devoted to the 70th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) last year. They set off from Moscow on April 25. Their route ran through Minsk and Brest (Belarus); Wroclaw (Poland), Brno and Bratislava (Slovakia), Vienna (Austria), Munich (Germany), Prague (the Czech Republic) to Berlin as the final destination.