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US bars Russian diplomats from Soviet graves in Alaska – Free Malaysia Today

MELBOURNE: US officials barred Russian diplomats from visiting the graves of Soviet servicemen at a cemetery on a military base in Alaska, Russian state agency TASS said today.
Russia’s embassy in Washington said on the Telegram messaging app late yesterday that a group of Russian diplomats had visited Anchorage on Friday and yesterday.
“Unfortunately, the local American authorities, without explanation, did not allow embassy diplomats to visit the Fort Richardson National Cemetery and kneel before the graves of Soviet pilots and sailors who died in Alaska from 1941 to 1945,” TASS cited Russian diplomat Nadezhda Shumova as saying.
“Attempts to obtain access to the memorials through the state department were unsuccessful, the diplomatic note of the (Russian) embassy in this regard was ignored.”
The state department did not immediately respond to an email request for comment outside business hours.
A permit is required to access the cemetery on the Fort Richardson US army installation, according to the cemetery’s website.
Russian diplomats have visited the cemetery in the past, the embassy said on Twitter.
Nine Soviet pilots and two other military personnel are buried at the cemetery, TASS said.
They died while flying planes from the US to the Soviet Union as part of a World War II lend-lease programme.
Lend-lease was an effort, begun before the US joined the war, to supply allies with material deemed vital to the defence of the US.
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