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Ushakov medals presented to British Arctic convoy veterans in Leeds
© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Trefilov

Ushakov medals presented to British Arctic convoy veterans in Leeds

British Arctic convoy veterans have been presented with Ushakov medals, which are high state decorations of Russia awarded to Russian Navy and Coast Guard servicepersons for courage and bravery. The medal ceremony conducted by Russian Embassy officials took place in the Leeds Civic Hall (Great Britain), TASS news agency reported. There were nearly 30 recipients.

"It is wonderful that Russia doesn't forget the merits and the courage British Arctic convoy veterans showed. They are very grateful for being awarded the medal and for being remembered in Russia. It is big honor for them that President Putin signed an executive order on awarding the medal," Lord Mayor of Leeds Gerry Harper said.

"Russians were our allies in World War II. We fought together against the Nazis. We are going through a very difficult time now, but we will always remember those who died in the war, among whom there were Russian soldiers," the Lord Mayor added.

Midshipman John Annette was just 20 years old when he departed for Murmansk, which was his first trip as part of the Arctic convoy. Today the World War II veteran is 94, and he poses for a photo with a smile and the medal in his hands, surrounded by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Annette said he was very honored to receive such recognition. He served on three convoys, and called the first one in 1942 a success despite the loss of one ship. During Annette's second convoy, a German torpedo hit his ship, which remained afloat despite the damage. The crew repaired it in the port of Murmansk, he said. The third convoy took place without incident, the veteran recalled.

Annette went on to say that he and his fellow servicemen were too busy with their work to be afraid of anything.  The weather was the most unpleasant part, as it was awfully cold, he added.

In line with Russian President Vladimir Putin's executive order, the list of medal recipients includes 3,300 Arctic convoy veterans, most of whom have received the award already.