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LONDON, April 2. /TASS/. British former navy chief Admiral Sir Alan West has described the Russian city of St. Petersburg as an ideal place to mark 70 years since the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.
Sir Alan said in an interview with TASS: "This 70th anniversary is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all the veterans to celebrate together in the naval city of St. Petersburg. And I don't think that one could find a better place to celebrate such a remarkable anniversary of our joint fight against fascism and Nazism in the Second World War."
Eleven English and Scottish veterans will leave for St. Petersburg, Russia's "northern capital" and second largest city, on May 7 to spend a few days with their Russian fellow soldiers.
An extensive program of events is being prepared for the visiting sailors who served in the legendary Arctic convoys that supplied the Soviet Union with vital fuel, food and munitions during World War Two. The veterans are expected to take part in all festivities of the city, including the laying of wreaths at the Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery on May 8, the Victory Parade at the Palace Square and the solemn procession of veterans on Nevsky Prospekt on May 9.
Sir Alan noted that there was "an outstanding link between two navies" since Russian Tsar Peter the Great, who founded St. Petersburg in 1703, came to England to learn shipbuilding.
From 1941 to 1945, Allied ships sailed from Britain to northern Russia to supply the Soviet Union with food and weapons. In total, 78 convoys delivered about four million tons of crucial supplies to Russian northern ports of Arkhangelsk and Murmansk under escort from Allied warships. More than 3,000 seamen lost their lives to the freezing conditions and attacks by German submarines and aircraft.
Some 3,000 servicemen have been decorated with the Medal of Ushakov by the Russian government to recognise their courage in taking part in Arctic missions to support fighting on the eastern front during the World War Two.