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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 September, 2004, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Ukraine honours Crimean War dead
By Helen Fawkes
BBC, Ukraine

1968 film The Charge of the Light Brigade
The Charge of the Light Brigade has been immortalised in poetry and film
Events to mark the 150th anniversary of the Crimean War are getting under way in Ukraine.

The conflict, which lasted more than two years, claimed a huge death toll. It began when Russia sent troops to the Ottoman Empire, now Turkey.

In September 1854, Britain and France invaded the Crimea, which was then part of Russia.

This week, each of the countries involved in the war will pay tribute to those who died.

More than a million people were killed in the war. But many of those victims died as a result of sickness and disease rather than on the battlefield.

The poor conditions that soldiers had to put up, with as well as military incompetence, like the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade, led to significant changes in the way future wars were fought.

Those who died will be remembered over the next two days in Ukraine.

On Thursday, flowers will be laid on a communal grave in Sevastopol. Then on Friday, the official memorial day dedicated to the victims of the Crimean War, there will be a series of events.

Separate services of remembrance will be held in the Black Sea resort by each of the countries involved in the conflict. Britain will also unveil a new monument to its war dead in the area once used as the base camp for the Light Brigade.

Later on Friday, representatives from Britain, France, Turkey and Russia will come together for a ceremony of reconciliation. Each country will then lay wreaths at a monument dedicated to peace.

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