Russia is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory in the Battle of Stalingrad with a series of events in the southern city of Volgograd.
The battle that took place between July 17, 1942 and February 2, 1943, is considered by many historians to have been the turning point in World War II in Europe. The three-phase battle began with a German offensive, followed by fighting among the rubble inside Stalingrad (now Volgograd), and ended with a Soviet counter-offensive and a decisive victory.
The unprecedented defeat of the Nazis near Stalingrad was a crushing blow to Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, which constituted the beginning of the collapse of the Axis troops on the eastern front.
The Soviet Red Army then liberated most of Ukraine and virtually all of Russia and eastern Belarus during 1943, followed by its final capture of the German capital Berlin on May 2, 1945.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order to celebrate the anniversary last February, and many commemoration events have been held since then.