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Russia Unveils New Monument To WWII Victims, Angering Georgia

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin takes part in a ceremony in Victory Park on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow to unveil a replica of the Soviet World War II memorial destroyed in the Georgian city of Kutaisi in December 2009.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has unveiled a new memorial dedicated to World War II veterans of the former USSR, replacing an older monument that was blown up by the Georgians a year ago.

Putin, speaking at the inauguration in Moscow today, called the destruction of the original Glory Memorial in Kutaisi, Georgia, a "disgraceful act of vandalism."

Georgian opposition leaders Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Noghaideli were present at today's ceremony.

Meanwhile, Georgian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nino Kalandadze slammed the new monument in comments to reporters today.

She described it as an "attempt to convince the public that Georgia allegedly did not appreciate those who died during World War II."

compiled from agency reports