Donetsk, Sep 8 — DAN. Capturing the land and resources of the coal-mining region had tremendous significance for the Hitler regime; taking possession of them was one of the goals of Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of liberation of Donbass from Nazi invaders.

“September 8, 1943, marks a landmark date in the history of our country. Eighty years ago today, the legendary unconquered Donbass — Russia’s centuries-old stronghold, a land of hard workers and warriors, a rich and generous land — was liberated and cleansed from Nazi occupiers. Its resources held enormous value for the enemy. Seizing them was one of the goals behind Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union, and the Nazis did everything to keep the Donbass steppe to themselves and to force the people to work for the war machine of the Third Reich, ” the president said in a video address published on the Kremlin website.  

 However, they ran into fierce resistance in the occupied territories, the intensity of which did not wane for nearly 700 days, the head of state said.

“During that time, while the cruel and cynical beast ruled over Donbass, hundreds of thousands of partisans, underground fighters, civilians, and children were subjected to torture and execution, and unassailable enemy fortifications grew on the key fronts. The banks of the Seversky Donets River were dotted with bunkers and dugouts, and many kilometers of minefields. Breaking through that defense line appeared impossible, but the Red Army soldiers accomplished this task, performed feats beyond human capabilities, and travelled a heroic and sacrificial path, thus solidifying the triumph of Soviet troops at the Kursk Bulge, ” Putin said.

In his speech, the president paid special attention to Saur Mogila, a key German defense line for which Soviet troops fought fierce battles.

Donbass Liberation Day is marked annually on September 8. On that day, the regional center Stalino (later renamed to Donetsk) was recaptured during the Donbass offensive. The Red Army broke through the heavily fortified Nazi Germany defensive line “Mius Front.” A memorial was built on the legendary Saur Mogila hill to honor the feats of Soviet fighters. Today, it is a key regional military history monument.*jk