A message in a bottle launched into the sea by a Russian sailor during the Cold War has been found 50 years later by an Alaskan man while he was out gathering firewood.

Tyler Ivanoff found the handwritten Russian letter near Shishmaref, about 600 miles northwest of Anchorage.

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“I found a message in a bottle today. Any friends that are Russian translators out there?,” he wrote on Facebook earlier this month, and posted photographs of the green bottle and the letter dated 20 June, 1969.

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Russian speakers responded to his appeal and one translated the message to be “a heartfelt hello from the Russian far-eastern fleet of Vladivostok”.

“Greetings to you,” it said, and included an address and a request for a response from the person who finds it.

As days passed without any success, Mr Ivanoff wrote: “Feel free to search. That would be awesome if we found the author of this note. I’ve been working and berry picking so not much time for research.”

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The letter was signed by Captain Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko and reporters from the state-owned Russian media network Russia-1 tracked him down, Alaskan television station KTUU reported.

He was sceptical he was the author of the note until he saw his signature at the bottom of it.

The then 36-year-old revealed he sent it while on board the Sulak, which was reportedly sold for scrap later in the 1990s.

During the interview, Mr Botsanenko produced some items from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles.

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Vladivostok is a major Pacific port city in Russia, near the borders with China and North Korea.

It is situated around 2,778 miles (4,471km) away from Shishmaref in Alaska.

Mr Ivanoff expressed his delight at the original writer of the letter being traced in a post on social media: “It’s pretty cool how a small photo grew into a story.”

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