AUSTRIA REMEMBERS ITS LIBERATORS FROM NAZISM

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MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti) -The Russian Foreign Ministry has congratulated the citizens of Austria on the 60th anniversary of the country's liberation from the Nazi Germany's occupants.

"In these memorable days, we sincerely congratulate all citizens of Austria on the 60th anniversary of restoration of your country's sovereignty culminated in the signing of the State Treaty on Restoration of Independent and Democratic Austria of May 15, 1955," says the statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry's Press and Information Department.

On April 1945, the Red Army overcame the resistance of Wehrmacht and completed its operation for capturing Vienna. By late April-early May, the allied forces had culminated their offensive momentum with liberation of the entire Austrian territory. They drew the final line under the dark period of Austria's history following the Anschluss, the country's forceful incorporation into Nazi Germany.

The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that "Russia respects the Austrian people's historical choice of keeping the time-tested tradition of neutrality and is ready to develop a large-scale mutually rewarding cooperation in the interests of our countries and for the benefit of further consolidation of peace and stability in Europe".

The statement also says that "the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe from the Nazi plague called for exertion of the utmost effort on the part of every member-country of the anti-Nazi coalition and entailed immense human casualties, borne primarily by the Soviet Union".

"Tens of thousands of our compatriots gave their lives in the battles for the overthrow of the Nazi regime and restoration of the democratic system in Austria. The remains of over 80,000 of Soviet soldiers, prisoners of Nazi concentration camps and civilians forcefully sent by fascists for compulsory labour outside the Soviet Union rest in the Austrian soil. Russia appreciates the care and respect invariably shown by Austria toward their graves and monuments, toward the memory of their heroism and sacrifice," the Foreign Ministry's statement points out.

The liberation mission of the allied forces set the scene for restoration of the Austrian state. On April 27, 1945, with due support of the Soviet military command, Austria's democratic forces proclaimed establishment of the second Austrian Republic and set up an interim government.

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