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Putin honours Leningrad siege victims
Moscow, Jan 19 - Russian President Vladimir Putin honoured the heroes and victims of the Leningrad siege, 77 years after the devastating events of the Second World War.
On Saturday, Putin laid flowers at the Nevsky Pyatachok monument, a small bridgehead on the left bank of the Neva River where nearly 60,000 Soviet soldiers died trying to break the siege of Leningrad, today St Petersburg, reports Efe news.
The Russian President's father, also called Vladimir, was one of the many who fought against German Nazi forces and received a severe injury on his leg.
From Nevski Piatachok, located some 50 km southeast of St Petersburg, Putin travelled to the Piskarevskoye Cemetery where the remains of 420,000 inhabitants of Leningrad killed during the blockade and more than 70,000 Soviet soldiers are buried.
In one of the mass graves of the memorial cemetery, Victor, Putin's elder brother who died at a young age during the German siege, is also buried.
The President placed a floral wreath before the Motherland monument, but before he stopped and left flowers next to the mass grave where Victor's remains lie.
Putin has said in the past that his brother was separated from his parents and taken to an orphanage by Soviet authorities to save him from the famine suffered by the inhabitants of Leningrad.
The head of the Kremlin, who was born in the post-war period (1952), admitted he did not discover where Victor's remains were until 2014.
The Nazi Army, which invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, closed the siege around Leningrad on September 8 of the same year and held it for 871 days and nights.
Soviet troops managed to break through on January 18, 1943 although they were unable to liberate the city in its entirety until 27 January, 1944.
During the Leningrad blockade, nearly 650,000 residents of St Petersburg died, almost entirely from hunger, and more than 300,000 Soviet soldiers.
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