Russia to open military missions in 7 countries

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Moscow, Feb 4 (UNI) Russia plans to open military missions in seven countries this year, where there are Russian military graves.

The plan is based on a Ocober 1, 2007 decree issued by President Vladimir Putin to that effect, a Defence Ministry statement quoted head of the Military Memorial Centre of the Russian Armed Forces Maj. General Alexander Kirillin, as saying.

A government directive has been drafted to enforce the decree to open such missions in seven countries, including Romania, Hungary, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, China and Lithuania.

Russia has applied to various countries for permission to have its military missions in them, the statement said.

''We are awaiting replies. All the funds for 2008 are available.

The department in the Polish Republic, which has existed since 1993, is continuing to carry out its task,'' it said.

''Missions of the Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation are needed to drastically improve the condition of our military graves and memorials,'' it added.

There are 24 states in Europe alone where there are burial sites for more than 2.5 million Soviet soldiers who fell during the World War II.

More than 80 per cent of those buried at the cemeteries are listed as unknown, 7,500 burial sites have been explored, and 4,519 have been registered.

''The situation with memorials dating to World War I and other international military conflict is even worse,'' Interfax news agency quoted Kirillin as saying.

UNI XC SZ HS1708

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