President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation congratulated all of Israel's WWII veterans on the 60-th VE-Day anniversary, wishing that veterans' organizations "accomplish a lot for the sake of enhanced Russian-Israeli friendship.""I consider this meeting to be very important. I would like to congratulate you on the 60-th anniversary of defeating Nazism and ending the Second World War," the Russian head of state told veterans. In his opinion, "there is no need to say that Soviet people, including those who moved to Israel, had contributed greatly to victory."
Putin mentioned the word combination "our veterans", while talking to them. "I am saying our veterans because I consider all those, who fought on the fronts, as our people," Putin explained.
Putin wished veterans every success in their work. "You are still going strong. And you can still accomplish a lot for the sake of enhancing bilateral friendship," Putin believes.
The Russian leader met veterans at the David Citadel hotel which is his Jerusalem residence.
Veterans asked Putin for autographs at the end of the meeting. They also wanted to pose with him for a photo.
Mina Yudnitskaya, a WWII veteran, was the only woman at the meeting. "I know this lady very well because she is my teacher," Putin smiled, asking that Mrs. Yudnitskaya be allowed to sit near to him.
Mina Yudnitskaya had taught German at a Leningrad school where Putin studied. She emigrated to Israel in 1973.
Vladimir Putin presented Israel's WWII veterans with a RIA Novosti photo exhibition.
"We are presenting you with this exhibition which features works by war veterans in memory of the VE-Day anniversary," Putin said, while presenting the exhibition to the unions of Israel's WWII veterans.
"About 20,000 veterans live in Israel," Putin reminded.
Veterans gave Vladimir Putin a soldier's medal that had been instituted by the union of WWII veterans and anti-Nazi fighters.
The Russian head of state accepted this award with gratitude. "As a rule, I try not to accept any awards. However, this is a soldier's award, rather than a state award. I will keep it as a memento," Putin admitted.
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