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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

22.06.2013

Ambassador’s Notebook: British Veterans Awarded Russian Medal

On June 16, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister David Cameron presented to 20 veterans with each country’s state awards, the Ushakov Medal and the Arctic Star, at a joint ceremony.

The Ushakov medal was established in 1944 at the height of the WWII. This war medal was traditionally awarded to sailors, soldiers, sergeants and warrant officers for bravery and courage in defending their nation.

The UK’s Arctic star is a campaign medal introduced by HM Government in December 2012 to acknowledge the heroic deeds of the Arctic Convoy veterans.

Under the obligations assumed at the 1941 Moscow conference, the United Kingdom and the United States supplied the Red Army with weapons, military equipment and other vital goods, and on their way back convoys brought strategic raw materials to Britain. Allied ships sailed from Britain to Russia’s northern ports of Murmansk and Archangel between 1941 and 1945. In total there were 41 convoys from the UK to Russia and 36 convoys from Russia to the UK. The supplies they carried were vital to the war effort, as Nazi forces had Russia completely blockaded from the West.

Under constant threat of attack by Nazi U-boats and aircraft, the crews also had to deal with severe cold, storms, and ice. Many ships were lost and over 3,000 British Navy and Merchant marine personnel perished in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Their bodies were never recovered. Prime Minister Winston Churchill rightly called the Arctic Convoys the “worst journey in the world,” but their bravery enabled the Red Army to fend off the Nazi onslaught until the battle of Stalingrad, when the tide was turned.

Russia has never forgotten the deeds of our allies. Since 1985, Foreign Convoy veterans have been awarded medals marking the anniversaries of the Victory in the Second World War.

Now, the Arctic convoy veterans have been presented with this long-awaited award in recognition of their personal heroism and invaluable contribution to our joint victory over fascism.

Her Majesty’s consent for the Ushakov medal to be awarded to the British Convoy veterans recognizes the importance of the Russia-UK allied relationship during the Second World War, the role it played in defeating the Nazi Germany and its allies and saving Europe from fascism.

It is also indicative of the positive trends in the development of our broader bilateral relationship over the last two to three years.

It is highly symbolic that British veterans are awarded this medal, since Russian Admiral Ushakov (who was later canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church), led Russian Navy against Napoleonic France at a time when the British Navy fought under the command of Admiral Nelson.

I would like to thank all those who campaigned for due recognition of the British Arctic Convoy veterans’ wartime effort and sacrifice – lawmakers, civil society activists and the veterans’ families.




LATEST EVENTS

21.04.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's talking points at the Press Conference, 20 April 2018

Since we met last time a lot of events took place: - Military strikes of the United States, UK and France against Syria in violation of the international law - Mission by OPCW inspectors to Douma - Speech of Prime Minister May in Parliament in support of the British aggression against Syria - Special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council (18 April 2018) - New developments in the classified case of Salisbury poisoning of Skripal family - No meaningful developments on the Glushkov case - and Cyber security threats I plan to comment all these issues. And I will be happy to answer all our questions, if you have any.


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Q: Bearing in mind that the US, France and Germany have said they agree with Britain that all the evidence suggests the attacks in Salisbury were the responsibility of the Russian state, what credibility can be placed on the denials issued by the Russian Government? A:We don't know if UK presented any evidence to US, France and Germany - highly likely none - but if they did, why not present it through the channels outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention? Universal legal principle is presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof lies with the British Government. Its record includes the Iraq WMD dossier - you will remember that at some point doubting US and UK claims was considered a wild conspiracy theory. It is not any more.


26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.


17.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the unveiling of memorial plaque in Sayes Court Park

Dear Mayor, Dear Councillors, Lady Joan, Ladies and gentlemen, It is now 320 years ago that a truly remarkable man set foot in Deptford. As you know, the Russian Tsar Peter, later named the Great, visited Western Europe in 1697—1698 under the nickname of Peter Mikhailov, with his Grand Embassy. He was eager to find out about the latest achievements in science and technology and create new diplomatic alliances. Of course, England couldn’t escape his attention. He mostly studied shipbuilding at the famous Deptford Dockyard, but he also met King William III, and, reportedly, Isaac Newton. Peter’s landlord, the famous John Evelyn, was also a respected scientist – a founder member of the Royal Society.


13.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the Russian Embassy at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee. It’s a common knowledge, that football is the most popular game in the world. It is an honour for us to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of our country. I believe that those who come to Russia to support their national teams will leave with unforgettable memories.


08.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo (7 December 2017)


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Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away this week. In 2015 he gave a concert in this very hall. I am delighted to welcome you at our reception dedicated to the Russian Film Week and the environmental causes it champions. This year their charity partner is World Wide Fund for Nature, which runs many projects in Russia in coordination and with support of the Russian Government. Russia has a unique, fascinating wildlife. A number of this week’s films show the natural beauty of our land and are sure to raise awareness of how fragile this beauty is. We appreciate the WWF effort in Russia and worldwide and call on everybody to become a supporter, especially this year, marked as Year of Ecology in Russia.


20.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the launch of the Russian Film Week (19 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, It is a pleasure for me to be at the opening of the second edition of the Russian Film Week here in London – which this year also spans to Cambridge and Edinburgh.


16.10.2017 - Unpublished letter to the Editor of The Times (sent 12 October)

Sir, If British MPs are free to speak out, wherever they wish, on any issue, why try to block their freedom of speech (“Helping Putin”, 11 October)? If a TV channel wants (and is legally bound) to present different points of view, why slam those who express these views? If the mere act of giving an interview to foreign media amounts to high treason, why does The Times interview Russian politicians without fear? And finally - while MPs critical of Russia are welcome guests on the Russian TV channel RT, does your paper give the same treatment to those critical of the paper’s owner? Konstantin Shlykov Press Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation


25.09.2017 - PRESENTATION by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Future of Europe Conference 22 September 2017, London

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, dear Mr. Ambassador, conference organizers and participants, I cordially greet all of those gathered today at the Russian Embassy in London to partake in this conference dedicated to the question of the future of Christianity in Europe. This topic is not only not losing any of its relevance, but is resounding ever anew. Experts believe that today Christianity remains not only the most persecuted religious community on the planet, but is also encountering fresh challenges which touch upon the moral foundations of peoples' lives, their faith and their values. Recent decades have seen a transformation in the religious and ethnic landscape of Europe.



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