U.S. President Barack Obama has marked the anniversary of the end of World War II, saluting the allies' victory 65 years ago as "one of the most important events in human history."
In a statement, Mr. Obama said victory over Nazi Germany in 1945 was achieved through "extraordinary sacrifices," by ordinary people from the many nations that came together to defend security and human dignity at a time "of maximum peril."
The U.S. president paid particular attention to Russia, which is hosting a massive parade Sunday to honor the anniversary. Troops from the U.S., Britain, France and Poland will march through Moscow's Red Square with Russian forces commemorating the Soviet Union's role in the war.
Mr. Obama said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has shown "remarkable leadership" in honoring the sacrifices of the past, and also speaking candidly about the suppressions of basic freedoms in the former Soviet Union.
President Obama said the Russian leader's words remind all nations that they must work together to protect fundamental human rights.