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Russian ambassador to US lays flowers to tombs of Russian sailors in Norfolk

February 16, 22:33 UTC+3 NORFOLK

Today’s ceremony demonstrates that Russia remembers its sons who gave their lives serving the Fatherland, Antonov said

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Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov

Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov

© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

NORFOLK /Virginia, USA/, February 16. /TASS/. Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov on Friday laid a wreath to the tombs of six Russian sailors from the Svetlana steam frigate, who died here when she was on a round-the-world voyage of 1876-1877.

Back then, the Russia sailors were invited to Norfolk as guests of honor and participants in a parade on the anniversary of the March 1862 Battle of Hampton Roads in the American Civil War of 1861-1865, the first sea battle in naval history between ironclad warships.

As follows from documents, the Russian sailors contracted, presumably, either scurvy or typhus and were taken to a local hospital but died to be buried in Norfolk along with sailors from other ships and navies in late January 1877. Currently, the tombs of the six sailors from Russia’s Svetlana frigate are located on the territory of the US’ Naval Station Norfolk.

"Today’s ceremony demonstrates that Russia remembers its sons who gave their lives serving the Fatherland," the Russian ambassador said at the ceremony. "I would like to use this occasion to express sincere gratitude to the US side for respect to the memory of Russian sailors."

"In the years of the American Civil War, Russia unconditionally supported the Abraham Lincoln government as the only legitimate authority on the American land," Antonov noted. "The fate of Russian sailors who died during the Russian Navy voyage to the United States during the American Civil War and in the following years shows that our great powers have many in common in their history."

Russia’s Military History Society jointly with the foreign and defense ministries identified the names of the Russian sailors and restored the memorial stone at their burial place.

The 40-gun screw frigate Svetlana was built in France’s Bordeaux in 1856. She made several round-the globe voyages and continued her service with the Russian Navy practically till the end of the 19th century.

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