The award ceremony of the British veterans of the Northern Convoys has taken place at the Russian embassy in London. Memorial medals commemorating the 50th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) were presented to 26 veterans on the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the ceremony, the Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom Grigory Karasin said that this year was the 60th anniversary of the Northern Convoys, and, therefore, a special time for the veterans. According to the ambassador, "the veterans' names have been recorded in the history of both Great Britain and Russia" According to a Ministry of Defence spokesman who participated in the ceremony, "Russian-British relations in the military sphere are very close, especially with regards to the two countries' navies." He pointed out that the British Ministry of Defence provided aid in civilian retraining for the Russian retired service personnel, and that this programme would be continued.