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May 10, 2010

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Shanghai vet makes connection - aged 91

A SHANGHAI nonagenarian, who is a World War II veteran, has reminisced with a Russian counterpart via that "newfangled" Internet.

He emotionally described sharing war memories with the Russian veteran through an online video meeting.

"It was meaningful to communicate with my Russian counterpart, especially at such an age and on such an important occasion," said Ye Shangzhi, a 91-year-old city resident who fought in China's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression from 1937 to 1945.

The Russia Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo invited Ye and other veterans to attend the meeting that hooked up with Moscow on Friday.

It was part of activities marking yesterday's 65th anniversary of the end of the Russian Great Patriotic War.

Participants were in three cities and included two Shanghai-based Chinese veterans, one Russian veteran who survived the Siege of Leningrad, another Russian veteran in Moscow and several experts on international relations in Beijing.

Ye said he knew from his own experience how much Russians had done and sacrificed during World War II.

"Victory in World War II was decisive in shaping history," he said at the hook-up.

"Without the bloody struggles (of Russians, Chinese and others) what we have today would not have been possible. The whole world would have continued to live in darkness."

Ye said both Russians and Chinese made great sacrifices during the war.

"Tens of millions of people died in both countries and nearly every household has a family member who was either killed or injured."

During the meeting, an 85-year-old Russian veteran, only identified by his surname of Martynushkin, spoke to his "Chinese friends and comrades," remarking that despite language differences, it was easy for the nations' veterans to understand each other as they had endured war.

"What made me happy was that the Chinese veterans not only understood what China's situation was during the war, but also knew what contributions the Soviet Union made," Martynushkin said through an interpreter.

Babaskina Yudmila, a 79-year-old Russian survivor of the Siege of Leningrad, shared her war memories with the press and Expo visitors at the Russian Pavilion.


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