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INCHEON, February 03, (ITAR-TASS). A traditional ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian sailors from cruiser Varyag and the gunboat Korietz was held in the Yellow Sea off Incheon on Monday, February 3.
A Korean corvette took a group of Russian diplomats led by Ambassador Konstantin Vnukov and members of the military attache’s office to the place where the Varyag and the Korietz had sunk. They lowered a wreath into the sea to the sound of two trumpets.
Cadets from the Russian training sailing ship Pallada, which made a call into Incheon specially to pay tribute to the Russian sailors, also lowered a wreath into the sea. Later in the day, they joined Russian diplomats, children attending the Russian Embassy’s school, Korean sailors, officials from the Incheon Mayor’s Office and local residents in a wreath laying ceremony at the monument built ten years ago in Incheon on the centenary of the battle waged by the Varyag and the Korietz against 14 Japanese warships.
The Varyag became a legend in Russia and many other countries during the Russian-Japanese war of 1904, when it took part in the battle of Chemulpo on January 27, 1904, engaging in a heroic and uneven fight with a squadron of fifteen Japanese ships.
The cruiser, which fought a Japanese squadron in Chemulpo, was sunk on February 9, 1904. A year later, the Japanese lifted it and put it back into service as their warship.
Russia purchased it back in 1916 and sent it for an overhaul to Britain, where it was arrested after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. The British eventually sold the Varyag to Germany as scrap metal. In 1917, the cruiser was sent to England for an overhaul. In 1920, it ran into rocks while being towed to the junkyard and sank half a mile off South Scotland. In 1925, it was blown up to ensure the safety of navigation.
The Varyag relics were displayed in a museum in Korea. Several years ago, the Incheon city authorities transferred the Varyag’s flag to Russia. The flag is now displayed at the Naval Museum in St Petersburg.
A monument to the Russian cruiser Varyag was built on Incheon’s embankment in February 2004. It is made of garnet amphibole that is produced only in one place in Russia - Chupa on the Kola Peninsula. Laid in the base of the monument is a wooden cross that had been consecrated by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.
In 2011, the monument was moved several dozen metres to become the centrepiece of the embankment named after St. Petersburg.
Every year in February the Russian ambassador, the military attache, diplomats and pupils of the Embassy’s school board the Republic of Korea’s corvette to sail from the Navy base in Incheon to Chemuplo Bay where the ship stands still for several minutes to allow the Russian sailors to lower a wreath into the sea to the sound of the military trumpet in memory of the Varyag and Korietz crews.