MINSK, Belarus (AP) – Belarus held a burial ceremony Friday for 110 Napoleonic soldiers who died in a major battle in 1812 against the Russian army.
Tens of thousands of French troops died in November 1812 when the Russians attacked French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s army as it fled across the Berezina River on a retreat from Moscow.
The devastating defeat eventually led to the 1814 Russian takeover of Paris and Bonaparte’s exile. Since then, the word “Berezina” means “a complete disaster” in French.
The remains were excavated by a Belarusian Defense Ministry unit that searches for soldiers’ remains. They were buried Friday at a cemetery in the village of Studenka, 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of the capital of Minsk, in a ceremony attended by French Ambassador Michel Raineri.
Belarusian authorities in previous years have buried hundreds of remains of Napoleonic soldiers found in the same area.
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