VLADIVOSTOK, May 25. /TASS/. A joint Russian-US expedition team has inspected three crash sites of combat aircraft that the US had supplied to Russia as part of the Lend-Lease Act in Russia’s Primorsky Region. The experts confirmed that the planes belonged to the USSR, official representative for Russia’s Pacific Fleet Nikolay Voskresensky informed journalists on Friday.
"A joint Russian-US expedition to search for the alleged crash sites of US aircraft has taken place in the Primorsky Region from May 12 until May 25. Researchers and military specialists have examined part of the taiga [boreal forest] near Vladivostok, where a US aircraft PBN-1 "Catalina" crashed in 1945. We also carried out research at three sites in Arsenyev and in the Shkotovsky district of the Primorsky Region," Voskresensky reported.
According to him, specialists examined the crash sites and the surrounding territory, drilling open pits on the alleged sites of the wreckage. Head of the expedition, Deputy Head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Department for the Memorialization of Fallen Soldiers during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, Colonel Andrey Taranov noted that they had attained all their goals.
"We discovered the crash sites of three US-manufactured planes. Even though they were produced in the US, the aircraft belong to us and have a history confirmed by several artefacts found at the crash site. We also have information about the planes’ crew. The fallen pilots were buried with full military honors a long time ago. In one of the region’s remote places, we discovered a plaque at the crash site with the names of Soviet pilots," Russia’s Pacific Fleet spokesperson quoted Voskresensky as saying.
The head of the expedition also noted that the Russian side received access to US archives, which had been removed from the territories occupied by Nazi Germany. These records contain information on as many as one million Soviet POWs, many of who are considered missing in action. These documents help researchers find out the fate of those Soviet soldiers.
According to Taranov, Russian and US experts will continue to work together. In fall of this year, Russian researchers will visit North Carolina to inspect a military aircraft crash site.