24 April / 2018

REMARKS AT THE RECEPTION ON OCCASION OF 73RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE ELBE ENCOUNTER BETWEEN RUSSIAN AND AMERICAN TROOPS

Esteemed colleagues, dear friends.
Tomorrow marks the 73rd anniversary of the day when Soviet and American troops met at the Elbe River.
It is hard to overestimate the importance of this event.
As it was noted in the special order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army from April 27, 1945: “Forces of the
1st Ukrainian Front and the allied British and American troops have breached eastern and western German frontlines and came together on April 25 at thirteen thirty hours near the city of Torgau in the middle of Germany. Therefore, enemy troops in northern Germany are cut off from the German troops located in the southern regions of the country.”
Moscow saluted members of the encounter by firing twenty four artillery salvoes from three hundred twenty four guns.
The historic photo of a handshake between a Soviet and an American lieutenant circled the globe within hours.
The remaining photos of that historic day capture an atmosphere of sheer happiness that overtook both allied armies.
For Russian and American people the encounter at the Elbe is a vibrant example of our countries being comrades-in-arms that fought side by side against a common enemy. WWII traditions of partnership remind of great benefits that we can achieve if we stand united for the sake of stability and security on the planet.
I am confident that modern global challenges facing Russia and the U.S. must bring us together for an active joint work. Our top responsibility as biggest nuclear powers and permanent members of the UN Security Council - is to provide strategic stability and prevent sparks of conflicts that may ignite great flames of war.
Another alerting issue. There are constant attempts to rewrite history from those, who look at it from a standpoint of broken hopes and who twists the truth in their political interests. Historical extremists do not mind placing victims and their tortures on the same level and present Nazis as heroes. Such actions not only insult the memory of victims of Nazism, but also lead to a rise of radical, xenophobic ideas. We will not allow it. We will do everything to preserve historical memory for the young generation.
On May first the Embassy will host the opening night of the movie “Sobibor” about events that took place 75 years ago - an uprising and heroic resistance of the inmates of this concentration camp. I would like to extend an invitation to all of you for the premiere.
In Russia we will forever honor the courage of our comrades-in-arms and pay our tribute to all, who sacrificed their lives in the fight against the greatest evil of the twentieth century.
With each passing day there are fewer and fewer of those, who belong to the heroic generation of the victors. Time shows no mercy to even the bravest and strongest of us. I am truly glad that our veterans are here with us today. Your heroic triumph predetermined a peaceful and decent life for many generations. Our duty is to teach our children to live like you do, to treasure their homeland and work for it, just like you did.
And now I would like to introduce the U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Mr. Jon Huntsman, who recorded his video message for us on this special occasion.