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Leaders across Europe on Friday marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, as much of the continent remains under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On May 8, 1945 Britain and its Allies formally accepted Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender after almost six years of war, the BBC reported.

A two-minute silence will be held in the UK, followed by an address from Queen Elizabeth II.

Closed ceremonies were also being held by the leaders of France and Germany, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel.

To mark the occasion, President Macron will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Paris.

The ceremony wil be closed to all but a small group of officials.

Chancellor Merkel will also lead a ceremony at Germany’s central War Memorial.

BERLIN, Nov. 18, 2018 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron after a joint press conference at German Chancellery in Berlin, capital of Germany, on Nov. 18, 2018. Visiting French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday addressed German legislators, calling for opening a new chapter for Europe and building it more integrated, stronger and independent. Macron visited Berlin on Sunday to attend a series of events to mark Germany's Day of Mourning for war and violence victims, and met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi/IANS) by .
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron

In Berlin, residents have been given an unprecedented public holiday, although this in not in place across the rest of the country.

Other events are also being held, but large public gatherings remain forbidden.

Meanwhile, a similar celebration, known as Victory Day, is held on May 9 in several former Soviet countries including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, reports the BBC.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had planned to hold a major parade in Moscow on Saturday, but the event – showcasing over 15,000 troops – has been postponed due to the pandemic.

Instead, a military flyover will take place and Putin will lay flowers at a war memorial near Moscow’s Red Square.

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