Three British World War Two veterans have defied government advice to travel to the hostile Crimea peninsula to pay their respects to lost comrades.
Seymour Taylor, Ernest Davis and William Bannerman are in Crimea – annexed by Russia last year – in homage to the thousands of British sailors killed on Allied convoys between 1941 and 1945.
During that time, they served on ships delivering food, fuel, weapons and ammunition to the Soviet Union after the Nazi invasion.
British World War Two veterans Seymour Taylor, Ernest Davis and William Bannerman pay their respects to fallen comrades in Russia-annexed Crimea after defying government advice not to travel to the country
The trio paid homage to the thousands of British sailors killed on Allied convoys between 1941 and 1945
Six veterans were originally due to make the trip but three stayed at home after the Foreign Office warned Britons not to travel there.
In a stark message on its website, the FCO warns: ‘British nationals in Crimea should leave now.
‘Russian forces and pro-Russian groups have established full operational control in Crimea.
‘If you choose to remain, you should keep a low profile, avoid areas of protest or stand-off and stay indoors where possible.’
During their visit, the veterans are due to travel to a number of World War Two and Crimean War memorials and to meet Sevastopol’s governor Sergey Menyaylo.
They will also meet Russian veterans and visit Livadia Palace where the famous Yalta Conference took place in 1945.
Violence: Ukrainian men help pull one another out of a stampede as a flag of Crimea is seen during clashes at rallies held by ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol weeks before the peninsula was annexed by Russia
Hostile: Colonel Yuli Mamchor (right), commander of the Ukrainian military garrison at the Belbek airbase, speaks to troops under Russian command occupying the Belbek airbase in Crimea days before the peninsula was annexed by Moscow in a referendum considered by the West to be illgeal
The meeting, between Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Franklin Roosevelt, carved up Europe between east and west after Hitler’s defeat.
Mr Taylor said he was glad that he came ‘to honour fallen comrades.’
He said: ‘I feel very safe here. I did not expect such great hospitality. Last night we had dinner at a Tatar restaurant. We are enjoying every minute.’
One of the veterans said of the Russians: ‘Well, they had a job to do and I think the Russian army was equal to any army. They did a very good job.’
Vladimir Putin (centre) and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (front left) walk to watch military exercises upon his arrival at the Kirillovsky firing ground in the Leningrad region as he sought the annexation of Crimea
The Arctic convoys sailed from the UK and North America to northern ports in the Soviet Union delivering essential supplies for the war effort.
Thousands of sailors were drowned or killed in combat with Nazi ships although 78 convoys were able to complete their journeys having transported four million tonnes of supplies.
Relations between Russia and the West have been in the deep freeze since Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March last year.
The move – branded illegal by the West – later triggered the crisis in eastern Ukraine where pro-Moscow separatists have fought fierce battles with government troops.
Putin has been accused of supporting the separatists during the conflict which has so far claimed more than 7,000 lives.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk