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Russia observes WWII victory at Stalingrad

Feb. 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM

VOLGOGRAD, Russia, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Russia Saturday commemorated the 70th anniversary of the battle of Stalingrad, considered a turning point of World War II, officials said.

Speaking in the city now called Volgograd, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin emphasized Russia's role in defeating the Nazis, RIA Novosti reported.

"In Europe I've seen cities which were not touched by the war," Rogozin said at the ceremony. "But we are not like them. Our grandfathers and fathers were fighting here for every building and every street."

Hundreds of soldiers paraded in present-day and Soviet-era uniforms. About 200 veterans of the battle attended the ceremony.

President Vladimir Putin was not present, but he was expected to visit Volgograd's main war memorial later in the day and meet soldiers who fought in the battle.

The Soviets defeated the Nazis in the six-month battle at a cost of 1 million lives, the BBC reported.

Historians consider the battle of Stalingrad to be the moment the tide turned in favor of the Allies.

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