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09/05/2005

Queen marks Channel Islands liberation

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have visited Guernsey to celebrate the liberation of the Channel Islands from Nazi occupation 60 years ago.

During the visit, the Queen will meet with islanders who lived through the occupation, as well as forces veterans.

The Queen will also unveil a commemorative stone on the island, before the Royal Couple fly to Jersey to be the guests of honour at a son et lumiere fireworks display in the capital, St Helier.

The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the Nazis in the Second World War. Prime Minister Winston Churchill had considered them indefensible and German troops invaded in June and July 1940 after British troops had been withdrawn.

The visit to the islands by the Queen and Prince Phillip follows the 60th commemoration of VE Day yesterday. Prince Charles led the commemoration at the relatively low-key event, by laying a wreath at the Cenotaph.

In Moscow today, Russian President Vladimir Putin was joined by a number of world leaders, including US president George W. Bush, French president Jacque Chirac and German Chancellor Gerard Schroeder to mark the 60th anniversary of VE Day.

The occasion was marked with a massive parade in Red Square, followed by the laying of wreaths at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Russia suffered heavy losses in the Second World War, with over 27 million people killed. A total of 50 million people died in the war, which ended on May 8, 1945.

The commemoration in Russia was overshadowed with controversy, however, as the leaders of Baltic nations Estonia and Lithuania stayed away from the event, reportedly because of a belief that the end of World War II marked the beginning of their occupation by the Soviet government.

(KMcA/GB)


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