MINSK, 22 March (BelTA) – We must not let the distortion of historical facts and attempts to whitewash the criminals of the Second World War, Belarus' Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said as he, together with foreign diplomats, visited the Khatyn Memorial on 22 March, BelTA has learned.
“We must not forget about the tragic pages of the history, the feat of those who fought against the Nazis. We must not let those who killed people be called heroes,” the foreign minister stressed.
It is impossible to perceive without pain the tragedy that occurred 76 years ago in the Belarusian village of Khatyn, said Vladimir Makei. The Nazis burned alive and shot 149 people, including 75 children. The memorial erected on the site of the tragedy became a symbol of the victims, sufferings and courage of the Belarusian people during the Great Patriotic War. Khatyn was not the only one village destroyed like this. Hundreds of other Belarusian villages shared its fate. In Belarus in 1941-1944 the Nazi invaders ruined 209 cities and towns, destroyed 9,200 villages, including 628 together with their residents. 186 of these villages have never been restored.
The minister also recalled numerous concentration camps where huge numbers of people were killed. Many of the Belarusians were taken into slavery and never returned to their native land.
The minister stressed that over the years of its history Belarus was repeatedly drawn into conflicts and wars where it suffered colossal losses. “Belarusians have grown with non-acceptance of wars and military conflicts in their genes. This explains Belarusians' tolerance and their desire to do everything possible to have peace in their country, the region and the whole world. This desire of Belarusians for peace and tranquility has never been more relevant today,” the minister said.
The minister expressed fear that the current confrontation in many regions can end up in a war. “We must do everything to maintain peace and stability,” Vladimir Makei said.
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