Events are being held across Europe to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two on the continent, BBC reports.
Ceremonies are being held in Paris, London, Berlin as well as Washington. Moscow will hold its event on Saturday.
US Secretary of State John Kerry joined the commemoration in Paris, laying a wreath at the Arc de Triomphe.
One of the first events was held at midnight in the Polish port of Gdansk, at the site where the first shots of the war were fired.
‘Parade of cynicism’
The commemoration in Gdansk was marked with a 21-gun salute on the stroke of midnight. Beams of light illuminated a monument to Polish defenders in Westerplatte and the national anthem was played.
In a speech, Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski said the war had started with the co-operation of two totalitarian regimes led by Hitler and Stalin, ended with communism and the Iron Curtain, but ultimately brought integration of the region into the European Union.
The event was attended by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the presidents of several countries including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Ukraine.
Poland had organised the event as an alternative to Moscow’s Victory Parade on Saturday, which is being boycotted by many Western leaders because of ongoing tensions over Russia’s role in Ukraine’s conflict.