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MOSCOW, July 02. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Belarus’ capital, Minsk, to attend celebrations on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of liberation of Belarus from Nazi invaders and talks with Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday.
The new museum building is built on the Avenue of Victors behind the Minsk - Hero City war memorial. The Square of Heroes is situated nearby with a fountain of 170 jets to decorate it. Each fountain jet is dedicated to a settlement in Belarus liberated by the Red Army in the war years. The Park of Victory is located nearby as well.
Putin and Lukashenko will also have a separate meeting at which they expect to raise topical issues of regional agenda. Notably, the presidents are planning to discuss prospects of settlement of the situation in Ukraine, joint work for further CIS build-up with due account of Minsk’s presidency in this organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in which Russia holds presidency this year.Meanwhile, the leaders of the two countries will share views on preparation to ratification in domestic parliaments of the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty which the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, on May 29. All three countries plan to complete ratification of the treaty before the end of this year and the Eurasian Union will be launched starting from January 1, 2015. “The presidents will focus on topical issues of trade and economic co-operation,” the Russian presidential press service expects.
Moscow noted that in general “relations between the two countries are developing dynamically on the principles of allied relations and strategic partnership.” The Wednesday meeting between Putin and Lukashenko will be the eighth one since the start of the year. “Russia and Belarus share common or close positions on main international problems, co-operate closely in the United Nations, other global and regional organizations,” the Kremlin recalled.
As for memorable events in which the Russian leader will participate these festivities are dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Minsk’s liberation during an operation codenamed Bagration to free Belarus from Nazi invasion held from June 23 to August 29, 1944. During a large-scale assault of Soviet troops Belarus, eastern Poland and some part of Baltic states were liberated, German army group Centre was routed. The Red Army losses amounted to 178,000, whereas Nazi troops lost 381,000 killed and 158,000 taken prisoner.
Operation Bagration contributed to successes of the Allied troops in France’s Normandy.
Putin believes that Belarus played a special role in the victory over fascism, since the republic was the first to face the Hitlerites. Combat operations were conducted in the republic's territory throughout the war.
"We know about the tremendous sacrifices that Belarus made during the war years. It was precisely over here that the liberation of our Motherland was started," the Russian president said during a visit to Khatyn, a Belarusian settlement where the Nazis executed local residents massively, said ten years ago.
Putin's Wednesday trip to Minsk is also timed with yet another memorable date: July 3 is celebrated in Belarus as the Republic’s Independence Day.