Kremlin to honour sub heroes
THE Scots-based rescuers of a Russian mini-submarine crew are to be officially honoured by the Kremlin despite fears of British red tape scuppering the plan.
Russian ministers are planning to fly them to Moscow for a ceremony which is expected to involve President Vladimir Putin, who will personally pin medals to their chests and pass on the thanks of his nation.
The invitation was made after the Prestwick-based team flew halfway across the world to cut free the seven Russian submariners and save them from death at the bottom of the Pacific.
The plans were held up by worries at the Ministry of Defence in the UK about the protocols of accepting medals from a foreign country, an issue which is governed by strict and complex rules which normally forbid Britons from wearing non-UK medals.
A spokesman at the Kremlin said: "We are planning an award ceremony. The situation is that we are drawing up the relevant documents. The date is still to be decided."
He added that it would be likely that Putin would head up the event, but that the involvement of the Russian President was something still to be confirmed.
He added: "It is likely to be him, if not then the defence minister, Sergei Ivanov. But most likely the president."
The Russian mini-submarine, AS 28 Priz, became tangled in cables 190 metres down on the sea bed off the Kamchatka Peninsula on August 4. Moscow asked for international help and the British crew rescued the Russians on August 7. When the submarine reached the surface, the crew had just six hours' oxygen left.
The decision by Moscow to ask for foreign help signalled a shift for the Russian government, which has been traditionally wary about asking for overseas assistance. The notion that the world's largest country should be able to sort out its problems without having to rely on foreign help, especially from the West, is a major element in Russian pride.
In 2000 the Russian military submarine Kursk sank in the Barents Sea with the loss of all 118 crew. The government in Moscow was severely criticised for refusing foreign help.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west