President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening, dear friends.
Today, we are celebrating the 80th anniversary of the victory of the Kursk Bulge, in the Battle of Kursk.
I sincerely congratulate all people of Russia on this event, and, of course, primarily our dear veterans and, with special feeling, the people of the Kursk, Belgorod, Oryol and Voronezh regions. The fighting of the heroic Salient of Fire took place on these lands, the endless fields, the copse, the heights. The Salient of Fire will remain forever one of the pinnacles of the great feats of our people.
This amazing Battle of Kursk memorial is unveiled in honour of the achievement here, in the village of Ponyri. The significance of the victory in this landmark battle cannot be overestimated: it destroyed and eliminated the striking power of the Nazis, marking a turning point in the Second World War. This was where Hitler was planning to take revenge for the defeat in Stalingrad, believing that his tank divisions and Waffen-SS troops would force a breakthrough and then roll to the east. Instead, they encountered the unbending stamina and valour of our soldiers and commanders, battle-hardened fighters of the Red Army – and the Nazi onslaught failed.
The Nazis were stopped and driven back to their already imminent and inevitable collapse, because no tiger, panther or other beast could break the spirit of the Soviet soldiers.
The Battle for Kursk lasted almost two months. A large tank battle near Prokhorovka was its main event. Hundreds of tanks converged on a narrow section of the front in a counter battle. The land was literally burning under them.
We will never forget how fiercely the tank crews, infantry, pilots, sappers and gunners – all those who fought for victory in the Battle of Kursk – crushed the enemy. There were residents of nearby villages, women and teenagers among them and they also accomplished what seemed impossible. Almost in one month, they built a 95 kilometre railway under enemy fire, thus cutting the delivery times for combat hardware and ammunition in half.
Today, high state awards will be presented at this legendary Kursk site. They are being presented to our heroes – military personnel, participants in the special military operation who are worthy of the glory of the heroes of the Kursk Bulge – those who fought against the Nazis in the summer 1943.
Like in the years of the Great Patriotic War, the brunt of the burden of fighting is primarily borne by our soldiers, those who are on the frontline – the sergeants, platoon, company and battalion commanders, riflemen and sappers, reconnaissance and communications personnel, tank and combat vehicle crews, gunners and pilots.
All of our military is fighting boldly and resolutely. All of those in the special military operation are united by their loyalty to the Motherland and commitment to their military oath.
Today, awards will be presented to the most distinguished military personnel of the 127th Motorised Rifle Division of the Fifth Combined Arms Army. Hero of Russia Gold Stars will be conferred on Lieutenant Alexander Levakov, Corporal Philip Yevseyev, and Corporal Alexei Neustroyev.
This well-coordinated tank crew engaged in battle against superior enemy forces and accomplished what seemed impossible – it accomplished a great feat by not only winning the battle but also by saving its comrades whose tank had been hit.
The title of Hero of Russia is also awarded to Senior Lieutenant Rasim Baksikov. During intense fighting, he displayed personal courage and heroism.
The Medal for Bravery will be presented to Corporal Ilya Gavrilov. Skillfully using a drone, he identified an enemy location and adjusted our artillery fire with precision. And, his effective interaction with the tank crew helped carry out complicated combat missions.
Dear comrades! I am now addressing our military. I am grateful to you for your service, and I am proud of you!
And, of course, I would like to congratulate again, from my heart, the citizens of Russia on the 80th anniversary of victory in the Battle of Kursk, at the Kursk Bulge!
Alexei Neustroyev: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,
Please let me express my gratitude to you personally and to the leadership of the Defence Ministry on behalf of our entire tank crew for such high praise of our military activity.
The tank crewmen from our military unit asked me to tell you, Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief, that we will continue to honourably fulfill all tasks and do everything in our power to protect our Motherland.
Vladimir Putin: I congratulate all those presented with state awards, and all of us and all of Russia on this wonderful holiday, the victory of Kursk Bulge.