Ceremony near Barysaw marks anniversary of 1812 Berezina battle

A ceremony was held near Barysaw, Minsk region, on November 29 to mark the 197th anniversary of the 1812 Berezina battle.

In attendance were foreign diplomats, officials of the Belarusian foreign and defense ministries, local government officials, clergy people, representatives of political parties and non-governmental organizations.

Tens of thousands of French troops and civilians perished when the Russians attacked Napoleon's army as it was crossing the Berezina River on the punishing retreat from Moscow.

The ceremony took place at the cemetery near the village of Studzyonka where the remains of more than 300 soldiers from Napoleon's "grand army" and civilians, discovered in various parts of Belarus by the 52nd Special Search Battalion of the Belarusian Armed Forces, were reburied in 2007 and 2008.

French Ambassador Mireille Musso said: “The Europeans are ready to start looking at the past respectfully and objectively. They are ready to write together a common history.”

European countries are facing many challenges and the states would be able to address them successfully only if they “are united,” the ambassador said.