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Night Wolves Biker Gang Cross Into Germany

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Members of an ultra-nationalist Russan biker gang who have parked controvery with a ride through Europe to mark the end of the Second World War have entered Germany.

 

A group from the pro-Kremlin Night Wolves motorcycle club crossed into Germany from Austria on Sunday, according to Bavarian police, but they could not say exactly how many people it included.

Bikers lay a wreath at a monument to Soviet soldiers who liberated Vienna

The ride to retrace the westward route taken by Soviet troops to Berlin has led to anger in some countries.

The rally comes amid heightened tensions between Russia and the West over the crisis in Ukraine, which have fuelled fears of Moscow's wider territorial ambitions.

There has been criticism by some EU officials, while the Polish authorities banned the bikers and turned them back at the border when they tried to enter the country.

The German government have also cancelled the visas of a number of people believed to belong to the group's leadership.

It had been planned for the two-week, 3,728 mile ride was to pass through Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and finish in the German capital on 9 May, in time for ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the war in 1945.

The Night Wolves are staunch supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin

The biker gang's website, promoting the ride, declared "To Berlin" - a reference to the Red Army's famous battle cry.

During their trip, the Night Wolves planned to visit war memorials, as well as the Auschwitz and Dachau death camps.

In Austria on Saturday, two group members laid a wreath at a monument to Soviet soldiers who liberated Vienna.

The Night Wolves, who are sometimes seen as Russia's answer to the Hell's Angels in the US, are close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian leader has been pictured on a number of occasions astride a Harley-Davidson trike at events held by the gang.

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