Pakistani servicemen receive Russian awards for rescuing Russian climber

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ISLAMABAD, December 28. /TASS/. Russia’s ambassador to Pakistan, Alexey Dedov, handed over Russian orders and medals to Pakistani servicemen, who took part in an operation to rescue a Russian mountain climber trapped on a largely inaccessible mountain slope in July.

The award ceremony took place in the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Army, located in the city of Rawalpindi near the capital Islamabad.

During the ceremony, Dedov handed over the Order of Friendship to four Pakistani pilots, who crewed rescue helicopters. Russian President Vladimir Putin bestowed the award on them in September.

“Dear friends, I have no words to express my gratitude to Pakistani servicemen, who demonstrated their best qualities during the rescue operation,” the Russian ambassador said in his address. “We are profoundly grateful to you for rescuing our climber Alexander Gukov.”

“Your actions have once again demonstrated the friendship between Russia and Pakistan. This rescue operation helped us not only to come together at times of trouble, but also to gain a better understanding of each other,” he added.

Other Pakistani servicemen, who took part in the rescue operation, received medals “For Courage in Rescue” and “For Cooperation in Rescue,” as well as honorary certificates and letters of gratitude from the Russian Union of Rescuers and the Russian Mountain Climbing Federation.

Mountain drama

In late July, Alexander Gukov from St. Petersburg and his climbing partner Sergei Glazunov from the Siberian city of Irkutsk got stranded on a steep slope of the Latok I mountain in Pakistan. Glazunov fell to his death, while Gukov managed to cling to the wall at a height of 6,200 meters without any equipment, food or mobile communication. Most of the equipment was lost after Glazunov’s fall.

Pakistani rescuers could not pluck the stranded climber to safety for several days due to bad weather.

According to the site of Russia’s Mountaineering Federation, Gukov and Glazunov were members of the expedition that had been planning to ascend Latok I for shooting a documentary headlined ‘Impossible is not Forever.’

Latok I is a 7,150-meter-high mountain in the Karakoram range. While raising money for their expedition, the alpine climbers wrote that the steep North Ridge of Latok I had been unclimbed earlier. In the summer of 1978, a group of American mountaineers hit a height of 7,000 meters, but were forced to descend.

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