NALCHIK, March 04./ITAR-TASS/. Mountaineers from Russia and Ukraine have started ascending the Shevchenko summit in the vicinity of Mount Elbrus on Tuesday. The joint expedition devoted to the 200th anniversary of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko was a symbol of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples’ unity, said acting head of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic where the peak is situated, Yury Kokov.
“Joint ascent of the summit is another evidence of the two peoples’ wisdom and their wish to be together”, which was especially topical against the background of the events in Ukraine, Kokov told the Ukrainian mountaineers.
The head of the group, Ukrainian honored mountaineering coach Alexander Zaidler said such an ascent was necessary “in a difficult period when everything is wobbly and enmity between the peoples is sometimes fomented,” adding Taras Shevchenko was a great author, equally appreciated both in Ukraine and Russia. The expedition continues, he said, despite the events around Ukraine.
The group is comprised of 20 mountaineers aged from 22 to 83 years. Two participants have the Snow Leopard title assigned to mountaineers who conquered all 7,000-kilometer peaks located in former USSR.
The group is going to climb the 4.2-kilometer peak on March 9, Shevchenko’s birthday. It will hoist the flags of Russia and Ukraine there, said one of the mountaineers, Viktor Shabokhin.
Shevchenko peak located in Eastern Caucasus was named after the poet in 1939 when it was first conquered.