|German Defense Minister Peter Struck Saturday honored Soviet Union soldiers who died during World War II in the German town of Baruth.
Speaking at the ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the last great battle before the fall of Berlin, Struck said the Red Army and the western Allies liberatd Germany from the Nazis, according to a report of the German news agency DPA.
Struck and Russian Ambassador Vladimir Kotenev led a solemn cremony at the Baruth Soviet War Cemetery, where 1,200 dead lie.
About 60,000 Germans and 30,000 Soviets died in the fierce battle of Halbe in a pine forest, just 40 kilometers southeast from Berlin. The battle took place just a few days ahead of Hitler's suicide.
Struck indicated that Russians and Germans had changed from being against each other to partners 60 years after the war ended.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Kotenev praised Germany for confronting its past, adding that this had been the means to reconciliation.
Referring to neo-Nazis who sometimes gather to lionize the fallen Germans at Halbe, Struck said there was still racism and nationalism, which had to be decisively opposed.