Soviet Union's First Eternal Flame Re-Lit in Tula

After a nearly 20-year hiatus, the Soviet Union's first Eternal Flame has been re-ignited in the central Russian region of Tula.

The flame, in the Shchekinsky district, was lit in memory of fallen soldiers on May 6, 1955 and became the first in the Soviet Union, but it was put out in the mid-1990s.

The decision to restore the eternal flame was adopted by the government of the Tula region and veterans' organizations, Interfax reported, citing the regional government's press office.

Eternal flames from all hero-cities of the country were brought to the "Grieving Soldier" memorial, the burial site of over 70 Soviet soldiers.

"For residents of the Tula region it is important to restore the country's first eternal flame. This is just a small tribute to the work and achievements of our countrymen in the Great Patriotic War," said Vladimir Gruzdev, the region's governor.

Fierce fighting in Tula broke out in October 1941. In December, the Soviets launched a sweeping counter offensive, and the Nazi invaders were finally forced to cease their attack.

The defense of Tula was a turning point that ultimately saw the end of Germany's 1941 offensive.

The city was awarded the honorary title of a Hero City in December 1976.

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