Leonid Kuchma to visit his father's grave in Russia

President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine is to visit his father's grave on May 9th in Novoselitsy township, Russia's north-western Novgorod region. (The people of Russia mark Victory in Europe Day every May 9th -- Ed.) This was disclosed to RIA Novosti here today at the regional administration. The Ukrainian President's plane is to land at a military airfield in Krechevitsy township. After that, President Kuchma will leave for a military garrison in Novoselitsy township where army hospital No. 756 was located during the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany. Leonid Kuchma's father, senior sergeant Daniil Kuchma, died there of his wounds February 7th, 1942. The President of Ukraine will lay flowers at the Novoselitsy war memorial, subsequently meeting war veterans from Novgorod there, reports the regional administration. The death of senior sergeant Kuchma at a Novgorod-region military hospital was verified only in 1996. The Ukrainian leader has been visiting his father's grave since then. As a rule, Kuchma is accompanied to the Novgorod region by members of his family. Tables are usually placed near the afore-said war memorial, so that Ukrainian guests and Novgorod's war veterans could remember those killed in action by drinking 100 grams of vodka. (Each Red Army soldier was entitled to 100 grams of vodka a day throughout the war -- Ed.) Ukrainian gorilka (vodka) and appetizers are delivered from Kiev. In May 2001 a memorial plaque depicting the names of soldiers, who died at army hospital No. 756, was flown to Novoselitsy aboard Kuchma's plane. As tradition has it, local servicemen give presents to the Ukrainian leader. In 2001 Kuchma received a birch swan from a Novgorod artisan. But what will he get this year? Well, it's a good question, indeed.

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