17 October 2021
Moscow: 09:52
London: 07:52

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1323 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1315 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

PHOTO REPORTS

H.E. Ambassador Andrei Kelin attended an 80th Anniversary Service and Commemoration of the Arctic Convoys in Liverpool

Today H.E. Ambassador Andrei Kelin attended an 80th Anniversary Service and Commemoration of the Arctic Convoys, which took place at Liverpool Parish Church.

The Service was followed by a reception at the Liverpool Town Hall, where H.E. Ambassador Andrei Kelin had an opportunity to greet surviving veterans of the convoys.

 

On 12th August 1941 the first convoy, codenamed “Dervish”, of 6 British and a Dutch merchant ship set sail from Liverpool to Scapa Flow. It reached Arkhangelsk with no losses on 31st August 1941 and delivered 10 thousand tons of rubber, 3800 depth-bombs and magnetic mines, 15 ’Hurricane’ fighters and other equipment.

The comradeship-in-arms, which was born at the truly critical juncture of history and demonstrated unparalleled heroism and self-sacrifice of the British people, will forever remain an important part of European historic heritage and bilateral relationship, including the ties between the two navies.

 

H.E. Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s address on the occasion of the ceremony dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of the first Arctic Convoy:

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear Veterans,

Dear friends and guests!

I am honoured to take part in this wonderful ceremony commemorating
the 80th anniversary of the first Arctic convoy departure from Liverpool to Arkhangelsk. The initial period of Nazi armies invasion is the most difficult time in the history of the Soviet Union. The courage and valor of our people joining forces in the fight against a vicious enemy to all humanity, lead to many sacrifices and heroic deeds which are forever engraved in our collective memory.

Today we are not only honouring the shared history and joint achievements of our countries in World War II, but also the true brotherhood in arms of our people, a fine example of which were the Arctic Convoys. The resilience, bravery and determination of the Allied seamen allowed them to withstand the attacks of the enemy forces under the “ice breath” of the Arctic to deliver the life-saving supplies to the Soviet Union for the fight against the Nazi Germany on the Eastern Front.

Over almost four years, 40 convoys of some 800 vessels from Britain and other Allies transported millions of tons of supplies: tanks, aircraft, ammunition, communication equipment, raw materials, medical supplies and hospital equipment. The Arctic convoys alone made up just over 20% of the total equipment delivered to USSR from the Allies. It was the shortest but most dangerous way of delivery.

These supplies were most welcome in the Soviet Union and were received with deep gratitude as real support from the Allies in expectation of the opening of the Western Front. Not to mention the importance of provision supplies to the besieged Leningrad.

The Arctic convoy operations faced many threats from the enemy in the air, as well as on and below the treacherous waters, inevitably taking routes close to the German bases in Norway, from which Nazi submarines, aircraft and ships could easily reach them. The harsh environment of the 3-week journey, which Winston Churchill famously called “the worst journey in the world”, was not in favour of these missions.

In winter, among many challenges, were the bitter cold, pitch darkness and thick fogs, as well as strong currents – all making the already difficult route even more unbearable. These factors made the chances of surviving and completing the dangerous journey ever-more slim. Many thought it was not feasible for the ships to get through, but the professionalism, boldness and courage of the seamen made it possible despite all the odds. You, dear veterans, won the fight against the elements and the enemy to deliver the much needed aid. We sincerely admire, respect and thank you for this.

In honour of this heroic feat, upon the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, the Embassy has been presenting the Russian state award – the Ushakov Medal – to Arctic convoys Veterans. Since 2014, almost three-and-a-half thousand medals have found their heroes and we are determined to pursue this initiative once the pandemic becomes a thing of the past.

This year, I also had the privilege of participating in the wreath-laying ceremonies at the Arctic Convoys Memorial on the shore of Loch Ewe in North-West Scotland. Another commemorative event is also going to take place on 30August in Arkhangelsk, where the Northern (Arctic) Federal University will be organising an international conference honouring the 80th anniversary of the Arctic convoys. The memory of these and other heroic examples of joint combat and mutual support will forever live in our hearts.

In this context, I would also like to mention the outstanding efforts of a group of enthusiasts who established the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum in Loch Ewe, which houses various artefacts and memorabilia commemorating these historic events right where they happened. With the ongoing renovations and a planned expansion of the exhibition space, the Embassy intends to provide support in enlarging the exposition. We are hopeful that this would become a joint effort for a good cause with the help of the British authorities as well.

I would also like to thank the British Embassy in Moscow for traditionally supporting these and other efforts to preserve our truly glorious common historical legacy. I sincerely believe that it should and will serve as a fine example of selfless amity between our nations for generations to come. In the face of various modern challenges and threats, the world needs such friendship, mutual respect and cooperation more than ever.

Once again, I invite everyone to join me in congratulating the dear Veterans and wishing them and their families good health, joy and peace!

Thank you.





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Tony Kettle awarded with Order of Friendship

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26.05.2021

Ambassador Andrei Kelin laid a wreath at the Arctic Convoys Memorial on the shore of Loch Ewe

On 26 May 2021, Ambassador Andrei Kelin laid a wreath at the Arctic Convoys Memorial on the shore of Loch Ewe in North-West Scotland.


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H.E. Ambassador Andrei Kelin laid a wreath at the International Submarine Memorial in Dundee

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09.05.2021

On Victory Day Ambassador Andrei Kelin laid flowers at the grave of the Soviet soldier at the Aldershot Military Cemetery

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09.05.2021

On Victory Day Ambassador Andrei Kelin laid a wreath at the Soviet War Memorial

On 9 May 2021, on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, Ambassador Andrei Kelin laid a wreath at the Soviet War Memorial near the Imperial War Museum in London.


10.02.2021

Ambassador Andrei Kelin laid flowers to the grave of Alexander Benckendorff, 10 February 2021

On 10 February, on the occasion of Diplomats’ Day in Russia, Ambassador Andrei Kelin laid flowers to the grave of Count Alexander Benckendorff, the last Russian Imperial Ambassador to the UK in 1902-1916, in Westminster Cathedral. A small service was read.


13.11.2020

Monumet to Soviet pilots installed in Errol

On 11th November 2020 the memorial to the Soviet pilots, who fought during World War II and took part in the joint Soviet-British secret operation ‘Albemarle’, has been installed in Errol, Scotland. The event also commemorated the 75th Anniversary of Victory over Nazi Germany.


08.11.2020

Remembrance Day at Soviet War Memorial

On 8 November Remembrance Day was marked at the Soviet War Memorial on the grounds of the Imperial War Museum in the London borough of Southwark.


23.10.2020

On opening the memorial dedicated to Russian airmen in Errol

On Remembrance Day 11th November a memorial dedicated to Russian airmen will be unveiled in Britain, timed to the 75th Victory Anniversary year. At the height of WWII the British Government gave the Soviet Union, which had been suffering a severe shortage of transport aircraft, twin-engine bombers ‘Albemarle’. A long night flight across the North Sea and enemy-occupied territories could be managed by ace-pilots only. The top-secret mission of the State Defense Committee was entrusted to the hand-picked experienced crews of the Moscow Special Assignment Airgroup - an elite air division of the military transport aviation formed in June 1941 of the best civil airmen of the country to perform critical tasks for the High Command.


22.10.2020

Ambassador Andrei Kelin visits Natural History Museum

On 22 October 2020, Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin visited the Natural History Museum in London to see the photo exhibition dedicated to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest, which was won by the Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov and his capture of the rare and glorious Amur tigress "The Embrace".



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