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Cycling tourist from France impressed by Brest Fortress

Society 20.08.2018 | 19:58
Jonas Berto
Jonas Berto

BREST, 20 August (BelTA) – The French cyclist Jonas Berto, who has dedicated a long-range bike ride to the jubilee of the Normandie-Niemen Fighter Regiment, talked to a BelTA reporter to share his impressions of visiting the Brest Fortress.

The famous Normandie-Niemen Fighter Regiment, which fought together with Soviet pilots against the Nazi invaders, will turn 75 years this year. Fascinated by the history of the fighter regiment, Jonas Berto decided to visit places of military glory on his bike. His journey began on 23 July. Since then he has been to many parts of France, Germany, and Poland. The traveler crossed the Belarusian border and reached Brest on 20 August.

“I decided to go to the Brest Fortress from the very start. I was stunned by the heroism Soviet soldiers demonstrated during World War Two. The history of the citadel contains references to collective and individual heroism. Here every soldier fought separately but all of them were fighting for a common victory,” noted the tourist from France.

It was important for Jonas Berto to cross Belarus via Brest and Minsk. “I didn't know anything about Belarus before I started planning the trip. When I told my coworkers and friends that I wanted to travel to Brest, they thought I wanted to visit Brittany in France,” said the cyclist. Jonas Berto went on saying he likes staying in Belarus. He had ordered draniki (potato pancakes) in a Brest café in order to taste the national cuisine.

Jonas Berto intends to stay in Minsk on 23-24 August. He will definitely visit the Belarusian State Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War. Later on his journey will take him to Russia where he intends to visit the cities of Suzdal, Kaluga, and Tula. “It is my longest journey, which I believe to be a historical expedition. An opportunity to explore and learn is the most important thing I see in this adventure,” said Jonas Berto.

French pilots in the Normandie-Niemen Fighter Regiment took part in the Battle of Kursk and helped liberate Belarus in 1944. The word “Niemen” was added to the name after heavy fighting to liberate Lithuania and help the Soviet army cross the Neman River.

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