Vladimir Putin speaks to during the celebrations marking the 750th anniversary of Kaliningrad
Russian President Vladimir Putin is celebrating the 750th anniversary of the city of Kaliningrad, reaffirming Russia's ties to the area and expressing goodwill toward the European Union.

The Russian leader took part in ceremonies at the restored royal gates, which were part of an ancient fortress, before attending a meeting of Russia's State Council being held in the city.

Sunday, he will meet with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who to attend the festivities as his guests.

German knights founded the city, then named Koenigsberg, in 1255. It became the heart of the kingdom of Prussia. The city and the surrounding area were turned over to the Soviet Union at the 1945 Potsdam Conference after World War II and renamed Kaliningrad a year later.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.