RZHEV, 30 June (BelTA) – The Battles of Rzhev played a crucial role in the victory of the Soviet people over Nazism, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a ceremony to unveil the Monument to the Soviet Soldier in Rzhev, BelTA has learned.
“It is painful to think about the losses suffered by the Red Army here. More than 1.3 million people were killed, wounded or went missing. A disastrous and inconceivable figure. The contribution of this protracted and deadly campaign to the victory of the Soviet people over Nazism is huge. The campaign sent a clear message to the enemy: it was impossible to launch another offensive on Moscow, it was equally impossible to break or subdue people who rose up to defend their Motherland,” the Russian leader emphasized.
Vladimir Putin noted that this part of the war was poorly covered by official military historiography. The participants of those battles did not speak up about it either, as it was too hard to recall the terrible Rzhev Meat Grinder. “A fierce, exhausting, desperate fight went on here for months for every grove and hill, every meter of land,” he emphasized.
According to the Russian president, the unbelievable rampage of the battles exhausted the enemy, undermined and subverted the huge military power of the Third Reich. “The Battles of Rzhev paved the way for the triumphant victory in the Battle of Stalingrad, the long-awaited breach in the German siege of Leningrad, liberation of Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states. That was the turning point of the entire Second World War. We will always remember the high price the Soviet people paid for the Victory, the blow faced and repelled by the Red Army where representatives of all the republics and nationalities of the Soviet Union fought shoulder to shoulder,” Vladimir Putin said.
He added that this feat should never be forgotten or twisted and turned or falsified. “We will not let it happen,” the Russian head of state said.