On December 10 at Renaissance Square in Pleven there was a solemn ceremony marking 139 years since the liberation of the city during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.

It started with a memorial service, performed by the Bishop of Pleven Ignatius together with priests from Pleven. The day of gratitude of the citizens of Pleven for those who died for its liberation gathered ambassadors, members of the parliament, local government representatives, members of official delegations from the twinned towns of Pleven - Brest /Belarus/ and Rostov-on-Don /Russia/, hundreds of citizens. They laid wreaths and flowers at the Eternal Flame in the yard of St. George Chapel.

At the ceremony, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Bulgaria - H.E. Mr. Anatoly Makarov, delivered a speech, in which he stressed that "the task of Russia is to create, not destroy" - words written by Aleksandar II in his proclamation addressed to the Bulgarians. It was the Russo-Turkish War, whose 140th anniversary will be a central theme in the next two years, that created the foundations of the new Bulgarian state and allowed Bulgaria to play an independent role in the international arena again.

31,000 Russian and 7,500 Romanian soldiers and officers died in the Pleven epopee, a huge number of Bulgarian volunteers died as well.

The Russian ambassador expressed his gratitude to the Mayor of Pleven for the respectful attitude towards the monuments of the Russo-Turkish War and his care for the preservation of the historical memory.

The material is provided by the press service of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Bulgaria.