01:13 GMT +319 November 2019
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    Vladimir Putin visits Katyn memorial

    Russians not to blame for Katyn massacre - Putin (update 2)

    © RIA Novosti . Alexei Nikolsky
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    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday the Russian people could not be blamed for the events in Katyn where thousands of Polish POWs were massacred by Soviet forces in WWII.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday the Russian people could not be blamed for the events in Katyn where thousands of Polish POWs were massacred by Soviet forces in WWII.

    "For decades, attempts have been made to cover up the truth about the Katyn executions with cynical lies, but suggesting that the Russian people are to blame for that is the same kind of lie and fabrication," he said.

    Putin and his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk took part in a memorial service for the Katyn massacre in the Smolensk Region of western Russia.

    Putin said the Polish and Russian people should preserve the memory of the past, "however bitter the truth could be."

    Over 20,000 Polish officers, police and civilians taken prisoner during the 1939 partitioning of Poland by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were killed in the Katyn forest in 1940, as well as in prisons and other locations by the NKVD, a forerunner to the KGB.

    Putin said there could be no justification for the crimes committed by the totalitarian regime.

    "Our country has given an unambiguous political, legal, and moral assessment of the atrocities perpetrated by the totalitarian regime, and this assessment is not subject to revision," he said.

    Tusk said the truth about Katyn would help the reconciliation of the Russian and Polish people on the issue.

    "We have always believed that the truth, especially here in Katyn, is our weapon against violence," Tusk said.

    Putin said Poland and Russia needed to reset relations.

    "I am sure that the overwhelming majority of the Polish and Russian people are expecting exactly these kind of decisions from us," he said.

     

    KATYN (Smolensk region) April 7 (RIA Novosti)

     

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