Princess Anne attends Russian military parade to commemorate WWII Arctic convoys
The UK and Russia honor the sacrifice made by the sailors of the Arctic convoys, Princess Anne said at the commemoration ceremony, also attended by World War Two veterans and delegates from Russia, the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand, Iceland, Poland and the Netherlands.
“On behalf of her majesty the Queen I would like to say we are very grateful,” Princess Anne said, adding that she would like to pay special tribute to the “brave Soviet veterans” who fought together with the British military.
The losses incurred by the USSR during World War Two were enormous and they will never be forgotten by the UK, she said.
Princess Anne also presented the Arctic Star medal, awarded to those who served on the Arctic convoys, to the Maritime Museum in Arkhangelsk.
She also visited the Old English Church, built in 1853 by the British community in the Russian northern port city.
On Wednesday, the city of Arkhangelsk marked the 75th anniversary of the first Arctic convoy, called Dervish, by holding a commemoration ceremony as well as a military parade involving battle ships and aircraft.
Dervish was the first of 78 convoys that delivered 4 million tons of supplies, including 7,000 aircraft and 5,000 tanks, to the USSR between August 1941 and May 1945. Thousands of sailors braved freezing temperatures and the constant threat of attacks to deliver provisions, ammunition and fighter planes. Three thousand sailors were lost in the operations.
The events in Arkhangelsk were also attended by more than 40 Allied World War Two veterans, many of whom maintain friendly relations with the former Soviet Army veterans living in Russia. Some of them also told RT they do not share the anti-Russian sentiments expressed by some Western elites.
“If we keep friendship at this level… then hopefully we can influence the politicians,” one of the veterans told RT.
On Tuesday, a military orchestra concert was also held in Arkhangelsk.
At the same time, in Edinburgh, the Consul General for the Russian Federation, Andrey Pritsepov, held a reception with Scottish World War Two veterans as a mark of gratitude for their role in transporting vital supplies to the USSR as part of the Arctic convoys.
The Arctic convoys provided 23 percent of lend-lease supplies to the Soviet Union during World War Two, worth $13.5 billion.