Chkalovsky Airfield: The
remains of 121 Italian soldiers who died on territory of the
former Soviet Union in World War 2 battles were handed over to
Italian representatives at the Chkalovsky airfield near
The handing over was conducted by the Russia`s Military
Memorial Association yesterday.
"The hard and meticulous search for soldiers who fell
victim to the ambitious policy has been on for 20 years,"
Alexander Kirillin, head of the Russian Defense Ministry
department for commemoration of soldiers deceased in the line
of duty said. "Russia does not view the Italian soldiers
as enemies. They are victims of that dreadful war," he added.
An Italian embassy representative thanked the
Association. "Our joint work is based on friendship and
similarity of Italian and Russian peoples. Testimony of
eyewitnesses assists the search. Today 121 soldiers will
return home and join the nearly 11,000 servicemen who died in
the line of duty," he said.
As of now, the bodies of 10,663 Italian soldiers have
been exhumed and 2,807 of them have been identified.
Italy declared a war on the Soviet Union in July 1941.
The new Italian government switched to the anti-Hitler
coalition in September 1943 when the Benito Mussolini regime
was deposed. About 120,000 Italian soldiers died in the Soviet
territory, mostly near Voronezh, in the WW2 years.