Speech of the Russian Ambassador A.Yakovenko at the Ceremony of awarding Ushakov medal to Arctic convoy veterans (22 July 2014)
Dear veterans of the Arctic convoys,
Malaysian airliner tragedy occurred a few days ago. Among those who died were 10 Britons. Russia was the first to call for an impartial international investigation. Yesterday UN Security Council passed a resolution to that effect. Please, observe a minute of silence for those who died.
It is a huge privilege for me to thank you on behalf of the Russian Government for the invaluable contribution you and your comrades-in-arms made to the defeat of the Nazi Germany.
What you did 70 years ago, taking part in what Sir Winston Churchill rightly called the worst journey in the world, was extraordinary even among what is considered to be beyond the call of duty.
Thousands of Allied seamen lost their lives as the British ships sailed in the unwelcoming, stormy waters of the Arctic ocean under a constant threat of being attacked by German U-boats and aircraft.
Your heroism will always be remembered in Russia and Britain. Your deeds will continue to serve as the supreme expression of bravery and a high point in human spirit.
I am confident that it was not by accident that our nations found themselves on the right side of history, which the followers of the ideology of hatred wanted to stop, while depriving nations of their inalienable right to decide their destiny. The allied effort required all the best in the national spirit of the British and the peoples of the Soviet Union, the very strength of character that we are rightfully proud of.
The comradeship-in-arms, which was born at the truly critical juncture of history will forever remain an important part of European spiritual heritage and our bilateral relationship, including the ties between the two navies.
On the instructions of President Vladimir Putin I have the honour of presenting to you the Ushakov medals.