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Putin calls to spare no effort to avoid 1941-1945 war tragedy

January 18, 17:36 UTC+3

Putin said that at a meeting with war veterans as Russia was marking 75 years since the breakthrough of the Siege of Leningrad

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© EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV

KIROVSK (Leningrad Region), January 18. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday it was important to use any possibility to avoid repeating the tragedy of the Soviet Union’s 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany

"We must use every occasion to remind about this [the tragic events of the Great Patriotic War], so that we ourselves never forget about this, so that the entire world remembers this and so that nothing like this ever happens again in the destiny of our country and in the world as a whole," Putin said at a meeting with war veterans and representatives of youth public organizations as Russia was marking 75 years since the breakthrough of the Siege of Leningrad.

The remains of fallen soldiers continue to be found at the places of battles in the Leningrad Region today, the Russian leader said.

Putin said he was impressed that these soldiers lay with their weapons directed at the enemy.

"They did not retreat anywhere and they died with weapons in their hands in battle as they were marching forward," the head of state said.

"Precisely this attitude to the Motherland is typical of our people and this is what we must seal for long years to come for all the future generations. This is what Russia has always relied on - self-sacrifice and the love for the homeland, especially during the difficult years of ordeals," Putin said.

Siege of Leningrad

The siege of Leningrad started on September 8, 1941 and lasted 872 days.

On September 10, German Luftwaffe pilots bombed and burnt the city’s warehouses, as a result of which Leningrad was left without considerable food supplies. Gradually, fuel and water reserves were used up in the city and the supply of electricity and heating was halted. Hunger swept the city in the autumn of 1941. Rationing was introduced in Leningrad to provide residents with food. The bread rations had dwindled to 250 grams a day for workers and to 125 grams for the rest of the population by November 20, 1941.

During the blockade of Leningrad, the German pilots dropped over 107,000 incendiary and high-explosive air bombs and more than 150,000 artillery shells and about 10,000 buildings and structures were destroyed.

Despite the blockade, over 200 enterprises continued to work in the city, including seven shipyards that built 13 submarines. The industry of besieged Leningrad was producing 150 types of military products. Overall, during the years of the blockade, the Leningrad enterprises produced about 10 million shells and mines, 12,000 mortars, 1,500 warplanes, rolled out and repaired 2,000 tanks.

On January 12, 1943, the Soviet troops of the Volkhov and Leningrad Fronts launched an operation code-named Iskra and aimed at routing the grouping of German forces south of Ladoga Lake and restoring Leningrad’s land connection with the rest of the country.

On January 18, 1943, the Volkhov and Leningrad Fronts broke the city’s encirclement with the support of the Baltic Fleet and restored its land connection with the rest of the country. On the same day, the Soviet troops liberated the Shlisselburg fortress city and drove the enemy away from the entire southern coastline of Ladoga Lake. Railway and auto roads were laid across the resulting corridor during 17 days and already on February 7 the first railway train arrived in Leningrad.

On January 14, 1944, the troops of the Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts and the 2nd Baltic Front launched the Leningrad-Novgorod strategic offensive. On January 27, 1944, Leningrad was fully liberated. A salute of 24 salvos was given from 324 artillery guns in the city in honor of this victory.

No more than 800,000 residents were remaining in the city by the end of the blockade out of the 3 million people that had lived in Leningrad and its suburbs before the blockade. According to various estimates, from 641,000 to 1 million Leningraders died as a result of hunger, bombings and artillery shelling. Almost 34,000 people were wounded, 716,000 residents were left without shelter and 1.7 million were evacuated across the Road of Life and by air in 1941-1942.

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