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Europe Marks 65th Anniversary of End of World War II

Western European leaders marked the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II Saturday, ahead of a large-scale celebration planned for Sunday in Russia.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy honored the Allied victory over Nazi Germany with a wreath-laying at the statue of the late General Charles de Gaulle in Paris. De Gaulle led the French resistance against Germany during the war.

Another ceremony was planned for later Saturday in the city of Colmar, one of the last French towns to be liberated from the Germans.

In London, the leaders of Britain's three main political parties joined in a ceremony marking Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day), as the anniversary is widely known. The British political leaders put aside their election rivalry to lay wreaths together at the Cenotaph war memorial near the Houses of Parliament.

On Sunday, soldiers from France, Britain, Poland and the United States will join Russian troops in a massive parade through Russia's Red Square.

World War Two is known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War. Russians are fiercely proud of the heroism of Soviet troops during wartime battles over Stalingrad and Kursk, and their role in liberating Berlin.

Nazi Germany surrendered to Allied forces on May 8, 1945, after nearly six years of war triggered by Adolf Hitler's invasion of Poland in September 1939.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.