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Russian ambassador’s regret over medal row

HERO The Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Alexander Yakovenko, right, shakes the hand of Arctic Convoy veteran Commander Eddie Grenfell. 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (122827-3113)

HERO The Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Alexander Yakovenko, right, shakes the hand of Arctic Convoy veteran Commander Eddie Grenfell. Picture: Malcolm Wells (122827-3113)

 

RUSSIA’S ambassador to the UK has pledged to keep up the fight for our Arctic Convoy heroes to receive the Ushakov medal.

In a letter seen by The News, Alexander Yakovenko told veterans the Russian Embassy in London has ‘profound regret’ that the British government will not allow them to be decorated.

As previously reported, the Russian Embassy wrote to the survivors of the harrowing Second World War campaign telling them it intends to give them the Medal of Ushakov for their heroic role.

The convoys kept Russia supplied to keep fighting the Nazis on Germany’s eastern front. But while the Ushakov medal has been handed to veterans from Australia, Canada and the United States for their role in the convoys, the British government is refusing to allow it to be given to British veterans.

Mr Yakovenko wrote: ‘Under the circumstances the embassy only has to express its profound regret that while the authorities of

Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA have granted permission to the veterans of the Arctic Convoys to be awarded the Ushakov Medal, we are not in a position to honour in the same way the courage and sacrifice of the British heroes of the Arctic Convoys.

‘I wish to express once more on behalf of the people of Russia and the Russian government our profound gratitude for your heroism and courage. The embassy will continue to make the case for this award before the British authorities.’

The Foreign Office says for a medal to be awarded by a foreign state there has to be a specific service to the country concerned and that it should have happened within the previous five years.

The long-running campaign calling for the Arctic Convoys veterans to receive a medal is supported by The News and is fronted by Commander Eddie Grenfell, from Portsmouth.

 

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