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    VETERAN BORDER GUARDS MARK 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF SOVIET-CHINESE CONFLICT

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    VLADIVOSTOK, MARCH 2 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Veteran members of the Russian border-control force, marked the 35-the anniversary of a conflict, which flared up around the small Damansky island on the Ussuri river (Russian Far East).

    Veterans, who fought in that conflict, visited the city of Dalnorechensk and a border outpost named after Hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Strelnikov March 1, arriving there from various former Soviet regions. This was disclosed to RIA Novosti March 2 at the press center of the Federal Frontier Service's Pacific regional border-control department.

    They remembered all those, who died, while fighting for the small Damansky island on the Ussuri river. Rallies were organized at the outpost, with those present also laying wreaths at a monument to border guards, who were killed in action; moreover, veterans received awards.

    Soviet-Chinese political relations became aggravated in the 1960s, what with Chinese border guards, who were incited by official Maoist propaganda, staging numerous provocations.

    One such provocation escalated into a conflict. On March 2, 1969 Chinese guards killed first lieutenant Ivan Strelnikov, who commanded the Nizhne-Mikhailovka outpost, and seven Soviet soldiers serving under his command; all of them were gunned down pointblank.

    32 Soviet border guards were killed in the first few days; however, Chinese invaders failed to establish control over Damansky island. 58 people were killed and another 94 wounded during that conflict over the March 2-21, 1969 period.

    On March 15 the Chinese side made its last abortive attempt to seize Damansky island.

    Border guards, as well as army units, fought on both sides; artillery pieces, tanks and multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) were used in the conflict. The Soviets fired their Grad (Hail) 40-tube free-flight rocket launchers, thus putting an end to the conflict.

    Soviet and Chinese state delegations negotiated in September 1969, agreeing to retain the then Soviet-Chinese border, including near Damansky island.

    The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China agreed to demarcate their border along the Ussuri river's waterway in line with the May 19, 1991 agreement. For its own part, Damansky island was ceded to China in accordance with that document.

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