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Russia, France plan joint expedition to search for remains of WWI soldiers — ex-ambassador

February 20, 19:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Moscow and Paris are planning a joint expedition to search for the remains of soldiers of the Russian Expeditionary Force in France

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© TASS

MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Moscow and Paris are planning a joint expedition to search for the remains of soldiers of the Russian Expeditionary Force in France, Russia’s former ambassador to France Alexander Orlov said on Tuesday.

At their meeting in France on May 29, 2017, the Russian and French presidents, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron, decided to launch the Trianon Dialogue Civil Society Forum, Trianon Dialogue’s Executive Secretary Orlov reiterated.

"This forum is aimed at contributing in every way to bringing closer the peoples of the two countries through the implementation of concrete projects, including history and military-patriotic ones," Orlov said.

"We will offer our French colleagues in the Trianon Dialogue to have a second joint expedition to battle sites in order to first of all visit these memorial places that have a lot of our burial sites, to put flowers and pay tribute to the memory of these soldiers, but what is most important - to take part in search work," the executive secretary added.

The Russian Expeditionary Force of four brigades was dispatched by the tsarist government to help the allies in 1916. Two brigades headed from Marseilles to the Greek front in Salonika. The Russian contingent that was left in France fought alongside the French troops in Champagne-Ardenne.

The Russian troops distinguished themselves in action especially in a bloody battle at the approaches to Reims in 1916. More than 5,000 Russian soldiers were killed in warfare. After the February 1917 revolution, the Russian Expeditionary Force was disbanded, but about 1,000 volunteers continued their military service in allied troops. This military contingent was known under the name of Legion of Honor.

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