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    MONGOLIA: RUSSIAN AWARDS FOR WWII VETERANS

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    ULAN BATOR, MARCH 5, RIA NOVOSTI - Seventeen Russian and Mongolian veterans of the Great Patriotic War and the Khalkhin Gol operation received Russian medals of martial fraternity and for contribution in the international security cause in today's gala. Vladimir Rushailo, Russia's Security Council Secretary, was awarding the decorations.

    "Russian and Mongolian soldiers were fighting their enemy [militarist Japan] side by side in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, and defended Mongolia's freedom. After the rout, Japan did not dare to fight the Soviet Union in World War II. That was the historic mission of the Khalkhin Gol operation," he said.

    United Soviet and Mongolian troops scored an impressive victory over a formidable Japanese force invading Mongolia, summer 1939, in the vicinity of the frontier river Khalkhin Gol. Georgi Zhukov, future renowned Marshal of World War II, displayed his strategic gift for a first time in that battle.

    A total seventeen Khalkhin Gol veterans, and five of the USSR's Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 have lived to this day in Mongolia.

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