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BAKU, May 09. /ITAR-TASS/. Azerbaijan launched Victory Day celebration on Friday at the monument to Hero of the Soviet Union, tank troops commander Major General Azi Aslanov in central Baku, as President Ilkham Aliyev laid a wreath to the sculpture of the distinguished commander who fell in battles for the liberation of Baltic states in 1945.
The head of state congratulated the veterans who had gathered for the occasion on the 69th anniversary of Great Victory and talked with some of them about their health and problems. "Veterans in Azerbaijan will always be given care and attention," Aliyev said.
Flowers and wreathes were laid to the monuments of other Great Patriotic War hears: sailor Gafur Mamedov, who had blocked hostile fire with his body to protect his commander, participant in former Yugoslavia's resistance movement Mekhti Guseinzade, and famous Soviet intelligence officer Richard Sorge, a native of Baku.
On Friday morning, personnel of diplomatic missions in Baku, war veterans and public representatives visited the memorial in the city's Narimanovsky district where 1,460 fighters who died of their wounds in city hospitals are buried. Sixty-one hospitals were opened in Azerbaijan's capital during the war years.
Some 1,800 Great Patriotic War veterans live in Azerbaijan at present.
There were about 700,000 Azerbaijanis fighting on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War. More than half of them fell in battles. One hundred and twenty eight were awarded the title of hero of the Soviet Union, and another 300 were decorated with Order of Glory. Azerbaijan, which supplied fuel to the front, made a tremendous contribution to the Victory.