Europe

Putin praises Russia's WW2 sacrifices at Stalingrad

President Putin at Volgograd war memorial, 2 Feb 18 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Putin visited the Mamayev Kurgan memorial on a hill overlooking the city

Russian President Vladimir Putin has laid flowers in honour of the Soviet soldiers killed at Stalingrad - the bloodiest battle of World War Two.

A military parade took place in the city - now called Volgograd - where about 1.1m Soviet troops and 800,000 Nazi German and Romanian troops died.

The 1942-43 battle was a turning-point, halting the Nazi advance in Russia.

Mr Putin, campaigning for re-election, told battle veterans that they symbolised "love for the motherland".

He is seeking a fourth presidential term in elections next month, and opinion polls suggest that he has overwhelming support.

It is 75 years since the Soviet victory at Stalingrad and Mr Putin has appealed to the patriotic feelings of Russians ahead of the elections, reminding them of wartime sacrifices.

Soviet losses in World War Two were the heaviest of all the belligerents.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Russian tanks - old and new - featured in the military parade in Volgograd