The President thanked those awarded for their service. “The work you are doing in Syria is not only about helping the Syrian people and Syrian leadership. You are working to defend the interests of Russia, of our citizens,” Vladimir Putin stressed.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, comrades.
I would like to thank you for the work you are doing in Syria.
I have to say that, as you all know and as I have publicly said on many occasions, we are not only helping the Syrian people and the Syrian leadership. You are doing your job to defend the interests of Russia and our citizens. You know this, or should know it.
I have just seen the latest images from the place where our plane was shot down and where our comrade was killed – there are people from the Caucasus based there. Right there. They were his target. I saw the last photographs that they made themselves and that were never posted. These are not photos from the Internet. The people in the images are from Russia, abominable bandits.
Everything you are doing there is directly linked to defending the interests of this country. These are not some made up notions – if they grow strong there, they will come back. They do come back anyway, after they work there. Our people are also being killed – from the Federal Security Service special forces and from the Interior Ministry forces. We are constantly losing people. They [the militants] spend some time fighting there, gain experience and return to organise explosions, attacks and so forth.
We all remember well what was happening here in the mid-1990s and the 2000s. We must not let that happen again. Your job in Syria is to ensure that this does not happen in this country ever again. This is what matters most.
No need to say that your combat effort has a decisive influence on the overall situation in the region. Of course, what you are doing alone cannot cardinally change the situation. This is why your colleagues in other agencies are doing their work.
However, the Syrians will continue fighting there the way they are doing now. We can only influence the situation to a limited extent. However, all the positive things that are happening there are only happening through your efforts, and those of your comrades who are working from the air and are in fact leading the Syrian combat units. This is also our job, and you know.
I would like to thank you and, as they say in such situations, in your person thank all your comrades. Please convey my best wishes and congratulations to all your comrades-in-arms.
I would also like to let the women know that you are our comrades-in-arms, just as your husbands were. You should not have any doubt about this.