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Alexander Lukashenko promises to do utmost to preserve stability and goodwill in Belarus

Victory Day festivities are now being held in all parts of Belarus. In Minsk, the center of morning celebrations was Victory Square. A ceremony of laying wreaths and flowers at the Eternal Flame in the central square of Minsk was attended by the Belarus President. Thousands of Belarusians, including the main heroes - veterans - came to the square too.

A wreath resembling the Belarusian flag was laid by the President. Nearby are wreaths from the Government, non-governmental organizations and religious denominations. All of them are lining the base of the monument. The ceremony marked the start of 9 May celebrations. Naturally, the head of state held a traditional speech.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Belarus paid a lot for the victory. The Nazis turned our flourishing region into a monstrous conveyor of death, creating here about 260 camps and 110 ghettos. Arrests, tortures, executions, and the gallows were the common sights of that regime and our beautiful Minsk. The world shuddered to hear that the SS wiped out thousands of Belarusian villages, of which more than 600 were burned together with people - the elderly, women and children. We will never forget those who fought for our freedom dying in frontline trenches and in the partisan forests. Those who were martyred in death camps and in the dungeons of the Gestapo. Who died of toil, cold, hunger and malnutrition in the rear giving everything for the front and for the victory. Let us bow our heads to the countless victims of the Great Patriotic War who gave their lives for the sake of our victory, and observe a moment of silence.

READ MORE: How Belarus is celebrating Victory Day 2016 (photos)

The symbolism of the ceremony is clear. The head of state, government officials and general public gather to commemorate the heroism of Belarusians who saved the country and the world from Nazism. They paid a very high price for today's peaceful sky overhead and the ability to live and work. Such events unite the living and the dead, the survivors and the fallen, the past and the present.

Alexander Lukashenko:
The greatest achievement of this day is the peace and tranquility of the world and of our native land. Remembering the lessons of the war, we adhere to a consistent policy of good-neighborliness and peace. We revere the fraternal relations with Russians and Ukrainians. We highly appreciate the friendship and cooperation with other nations and states. And we will do everything in order for the Belarusian land to always remain a fertile area of ​​stability, creativity and goodwill.

Veterans are in the stands this year. Chairs have been installed in order not to make the old stand on their feet. Today every step for them is a challenge. But for now they still live on and prefer to be with the country in Victory Square on Victory Day. Previously, veterans, lined in a column, almost as the military walked several hundred meters to the Victory monument, despite the weight of orders and May heat. This is their sacred duty to remember their comrades and those fallen in WWII. Today, the majority of them cannot walk that far but their eyes are still burning. Their eyes were particularly bright, despite the tears, when the honor guard solemnly marched past them to the Victory Day song.

Many came to the square holding plates with photos of the fallen heroes of the Great Patriotic War. This is yet another bright note of the celebration - literally a thread connecting the fallen winners, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Many wore ribbons "The flower of the Great Victory." This is a symbol of links between generations and sincere gratitude to the soldiers-heroes who gave us a peaceful sky. An apple flower is the memory of May 1945, the joy of blooming gardens of Belarus, which became a symbol of new life.

In the evening, a gala concert of the Presidential Orchestra of the Republic of Belarus involving Belarusian and foreign artists will take place at Victory Square near the Eternal Flame.

Alexander Lukashenko promises to do utmost to preserve stability and goodwill in Belarus