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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Konigsberg Victory Celebrated

KALININGRAD, Western Russia -- World War II veterans from across the former Soviet Union gathered Sunday in what used to be the East Prussian capital of Konigsberg to commemorate its capture from Germany 50 years ago. The veterans, many dressed in old uniforms festooned with medals, paraded beneath a statue of Lenin which still graces the central square of the city, renamed Kaliningrad after the four-day storming in 1945. The assault was one of the first major victories for the Soviet army on foreign soil and paved the way for the capture of Berlin a month later. About 130,000 troops fought on each side and more than 100,000 died in a battle which ended hundreds of years of German domination at the eastern end of the Baltic Sea. The soldiers laid wreaths at a tall monument to their fallen comrades. Some wiped away tears. Some young locals joke that it would have been better if the Soviet army had been defeated because they might now have been living like Germans, with better living standards.

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