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MOSCOW, August 22 /TASS/. Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II’s daughter, will visit Russia in August to commermorate the 75th anniversary of the Arctic convoys, Igor Orolov, the governor of Russia’s northern Arkhangelsk region, told Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Orlov said that this year’s event would mark 75 years from the date of the first Arctic convoy’s arrival from Britain and Iceland to Russia’s northern port city of Arkhangelsk during WWII.
"Princess Anne has confirmed her participation in the celebrations in which the Band of HM Royal Marines and 35 Russian war veterans will also participate," the governor stated.
"It is important that our people also take part in the commemorations. We are gearing up for full-scale celebrations scheduled for August 30 and 31. The 75th anniversary (of the arrival of the first Arctic convoy in Arkhangelsk) will be marked on August 31. It is going to be a patriotic and consolidating event not only for the Russians," Orlov indicated adding that 10 British representatives would also visit Arkhangelsk for the commemorations.
"You know we had launched preparations as early as last year. After all, 75 years is a milestone anniversary," the governor told Putin.
He added the commemorations had received a cordial response among Russians.
Putin, in turn, said that he had met Arctic convoys’ veterans. "These people definitely deserve our attention," Putin explained to Orlov.
The Arctic convoys of World War II were oceangoing ones, which sailed from the United Kingdom, Iceland, and North America to the USSR’s (and currently Russia’s) northern ports - primarily Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945, sailing several routes through the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
About 1,400 merchant ships delivered essential supplies to the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program, escorted by ships of the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and the U.S. Navy. Eighty-five merchant vessels and 16 Royal Navy warships (two cruisers, six destroyers, eight other escort ships) were lost. The convoys demonstrated the Allies’ commitment to helping the Soviet Union, prior to the opening of the Second Front.