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27 Jan, 2008 07:16

St Pete remembers lifting of Nazi siege

The city of St Petersburg is remembering the lifting of the Nazi siege in 1944. Known as the 'Leningrad blockade', it lasted for more than two years and took the lives of more than 600,000 people.

Commemorations are being held across the city to remember the victims of the German offensive. Some survivors have been laying flowers at the siege memorial.

Top officials will be present, including First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is supposed to have a meeting with veterans afterwards.

Veterans have been gathering at the Piskarevsky Cemetery – a mass resting place for over 500,000 victims.

The German offensive, and the following encirclement of the city, is regarded as one of the most tragic periods of WW2 for Russia.

In August 1941, all rail links to the city were severed. As a result, citizens were left with practically no food or water. The siege was broken in 1943 by the Red Army.  A year later it was fully lifted.

The economic destruction and human losses on both sides exceeded those of the Battle of Stalingrad.