More than ten thousand people have visited the Leningrad Defence and Blockade Museum to show respect for the Banner of Victory. The symbol of the USSR's victory in the Great Patriotic War, the banner is kept in the Moscow Central Museum of Armed Forces. Until now it has left the museum only twice - in the spring of 2000 it traveled to Minsk and Kiev. By his May 24 decree the Russian president allowed the banner to be taken to St Petersburg because of the hero city's anniversary. For this "journey" the banner was insured 27 million roubles. The banner was delivered to the museum in St Petersburg on June 22 - Day of Memory and Mourning. Since that time the museum has been attended by 10,000 visitors. On the evening of June 30, the banner will leave St Petersburg. To the strains of a Leningrad military district orchestra it will be trooped out of the museum and, accompanied by an honorary escort, sent to the Moskovsky railway station, from which it will return to Moscow's Central Museum of Armed Forces.
Russian officials have repeatedly declared that Israeli aviation poses a threat to the Russian military in Syria.