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Germany

Putin: Germany and Russia are Past War Legacy

Former enemies Germany and Russia have proved their ability to overcome the terrible legacy of World War II, President Vladimir Putin told his German counterpart Horst Köhler in St. Petersburg on Friday. "Our peoples were at the epicenter of this war, the most atrocious in history," the Russian head of state told visiting German president at a meeting here to mark two years of joint German-Russian cultural events. "But we have proved that we have succeeeded in overcoming the heavy legacy of the past," Putin stressed. This year is the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and thus of particular emotional significance for the two countries. Putin will preside on May 9 over anniversary ceremonies in Moscow attended by heads of state of 60 countries including Germany. Speaking in Saint Petersburg, which as Leningrad was under German siege for three years between 1941 and 1944, Köhler recalled the former imperial capital's suffering, with nearly a million dying of starvation and disease or under enemy fire. Putin is a native of Leningrad and his brother died in the siege. "We Germans know our history and our responsibility," Köhler said. "Only an unequivocal understanding of history can guarantee our future." (AFP)