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Russia to build pantheon to Great Patriotic War heroes in Crimea

08.07.2014 16:11

Russia plans to build a memorial complex to commemorate the victims of the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War and other local conflicts, Russia's Deputy Defense Minister told reporters Tuesday.

The construction is to be carried out "at the behest of Defense Minister, and General of the Army Sergei Shoigu," General Dmitry Bulgakov said.

The Defense Ministry will render "full support," both during the construction phase, and in further work on the memorial, the deputy minister said. Additionally, the Defense Ministry "will restore justice" to military graves in Crimea, by repairing all of them and restoring them to their proper condition.

"Also in Crimea, the Defense Ministry will not disregard the German military graves and will continue to comply with all its obligations," the official stated.

In November 1941, almost all of Crimea was captured by German-Romanian troops, who even began to create their administrative bodies. Crimea was of strategic importance, as it was one of the only routes to the oil-bearing regions of the Caucasus. Additionally, Crimea was important as an aviation base.

One of the most tragic events in the history of the Great Patriotic War ? a term used in Russia and other ex-Soviet states to describe the conflict between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany during World War II ? was the Defense of Sevastopol, which lasted 250 days and claimed the lives of about 150,000 Soviet soldiers.

On April 8, 1944, the Red Army began to liberate the Crimean peninsula. On May 12, 1944, Soviet troops crushed the last military squadron of the German-Romanian forces near Cape Chersonese. More than 91,000 civilian lives were claimed in south Ukraine and Crimea as a result of the Nazi invasion.