SOCHI, June 22. /TASS/. A German delegation to the Russia-hosted FIFA World Cup has laid wreaths at the Memorial of Glory in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi in a sign of respect for the Russian people who perished in the Great Patriotic War (which Russia fought against Nazi Germany in 1941-1945), the president of the German Football Association (DFB), Reinhard Grindel, told reporters.
"Our being here today is a sign of respect and homage to the memory of the fallen," he said. Reinhard Grindel said the members of the delegation know how important this day is for the Russian people. He said the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the war, as "there were numerous casualties in the war unleashed by Hitler’s Germany".
"People must not stop at just honoring the memory of the fallen. That is why we have come here with young people whom we say that living in peace is what is the most important. And that our mutual understanding, respect for human rights give us these guarantees," he said.
Earlier reports said that hundreds of Sochi residents, tourists and football fans flocked at 9 am to the Memorial of Glory to pay tribute to heroes of the Great Patriotic War. City authorities, local residents and guests brought flowers and wreaths to the Eternal Flame on the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow.
The German delegation is in Sochi, where their national team will face Sweden at a FIFA World Cup group stage match on Saturday. The game will start at 9pm.
Russia is holding its first ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on June 14. Apart from Moscow, the host cities include St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15. -0zhe.