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Belarus Marks Anniversary Of End Of Nazi Occupation

1 July 2004 -- The presidents of Russia and Ukraine arrived in Belarus today for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of the Nazi occupation of then-Soviet Belarus.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma joined Belarus's President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to participate in a series of late-night events, including a wreath-laying ceremony to be followed by a late dinner with World War II veterans.

More than one-fourth of Belarus's population was killed in World War II, and some 185 villages were destroyed.

Located between Russia and Poland, Belarus was a key battleground during the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and the German retreat three years later.

Putin, Kuchma, and Lukashenka planned to visit Katyn, a giant memorial complex located 60 kilometers east of Minsk.