ST. PETERSBURG, May 25. /TASS/. French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte have laid flowers by the tombs of the residents of Leningrad (former name of St. Petersburg) and Soviet military who died during the deadly Siege of Leningrad in WWII by Nazi forces and their cohorts in 1941-1944.
The French leader arrived at St. Petersburg’s Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery at about 11:30 Moscow time, accompanied by his wife and an official delegation, who were carrying carnations, and headed first to the Eternal Flame at the entrance to the memorial cemetery. They bowed and then headed down the central alley to the Motherland Statue. A guard of honor carried a wreath with the signature ‘President of the French Republic’ in front of Macron.
Facing the statue, the French leader observed a minute of silence, bowed once more and then gazed at the monument symbolizing the Leningrad defenders’ fortitude and courage. The national anthem of France was played, followed Russia’s anthem.
Afterwards, Brigitte Macron and other members of the delegations, including Russian Ambassador to France Alexei Meshkov and French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie Bermann, placed red carnations on the pedestal.
No statements were made during the ceremony at one of the biggest cemeteries of WWII victims with its 186 mass graves and about 6,000 individual burial places. Overall, about 420,000 Leningrad residents and about 70,000 Red Army soldiers were buried in this memorial site encompassing an area of 28 hectares.