Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent congratulations to fellow members of the Commonwealth of Independent States over their roles in the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, and called for "brotherly friendship and mutual assistance" to mold their future relations.
The message, delivered on May 8, came as Western Europe celebrated the 76th anniversary of the war and ahead of Moscow's Victory Day parade scheduled for May 9.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel marked the anniversary with a Twitter message saying that "it remains our everlasting responsibility to keep alive the memory of the millions of people who lost their lives during the years of National Socialist tyranny."
On May 7, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also addressed Nazi crimes, saying: "Confronting National Socialism and the memories of injustice and guilt do not weaken our democracy. On the contrary, it strengthens its resistance and resilience."