Earlier today, the President of Russia and the Prime Minister of Israel attended the military parade marking the 73rd anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 and took part in the ceremony of laying wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden, and in the Immortal Regiment event.
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Beginning of conversation with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,
Let me once again welcome you in Moscow. I would like to once again express my gratitude to you for finding it possible to visit Moscow on May 9, our Victory Day, the day we defeated fascism.
We know how the Israelis, and Jewish people in general, relate to the events of the war. And this attitude unites us in many respects: our feelings about Nazism, Fascism, the victims of Nazism, in general, and of the Holocaust, in particular.
As of this year, May 9 has become a national holiday in Israel, as we have learned. I remember my visit to Israel, which was connected with the opening of a monument to Soviet soldiers.
Naturally, we will use your visit today to discuss bilateral relations and problems in the region. Unfortunately, the situation is very acute. I would like to express hope that you and I will not only manage to discuss, but also find solutions which will lead to a shift in the situation, and which will also allow us to find ways to resolve heated conflicts.
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (retranslated): Thank you very much, Mr President.
It is difficult for me to find words to describe how impressed I am with this ceremony, which is devoted to the victory over Nazism. In Israel, we never forget the huge sacrifice the Russian people made, the price that the Soviet Army paid, the heroism that was shown to achieve victory over Nazism.
There was a war veteran sitting in the stands between you and me, a man who liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp. Not for a minute should we forget the sacrifices made by these soldiers, soldiers who represented the entire Russian people, and among them were around half a million Jews who fought in the war. They liberated their Fatherland, they saved all of humanity, they saved the Jewish people.
Not for a second do we forget this very important history lesson: when such a murderous ideology emerges, we must fight back against it before it is too late. It is hard to believe, that 73 years after the Holocaust, there is still a country in the Middle East, Iran, which openly calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. But there is a difference between what was then and what we have today. We have our own country today.
I highly appreciate the opportunity that you mentioned today, to discuss with you and to consider together how we can act properly in the region, how we can remove the threats that exist in the region in a responsible and a sensible manner.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate how deeply I feel the importance of your invitation for me to join you here today, the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, the Prime Minister of the state of the Jewish people, and that you mentioned the Holocaust of the Jewish people in your speech. This once again shows the deep bond that exists between our countries and our people. I would like to thank you for this once again.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.