President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, veterans,
Please accept my warmest greetings on this holiday, Defender of the Fatherland Day, which is celebrated all over the country not only by tradition but also by right.
It embodies the feelings of respect our citizens feel for their noble defenders, our pride in all those who served and serve in the Army and the Navy, recognition of their heroic merits to the Fatherland to assert our national interests, sovereignty and independence.
Patriotism and the unity of our nation, the exploits of its devoted sons and daughters have always been the foundation of the martial history of our thousand-year-old country, its glory and victories. We are proud of the many generations of its defenders: the guards of Alexander Nevsky and Dmitry Donskoy, the warriors of Minin and Pozharsky and the heroes of Poltava and Borodino, Stalingrad and the unstoppable assault on Berlin, all those who brought glory to our Fatherland according to the great traditions of our ancestors.
On this day, we have sincere, heart-felt words of gratitude for the Great Patriotic War veterans. We will always remember that you, the valiant generation of victors, crushed Nazism and saved our country and the entire world from this barbaric, merciless force. Your feat is a summit of human history, a great example for all those who are serving today in the Army and the Navy, and protecting Russia from external threats on land, in air and at sea.
Ensuring that our country can defend itself remains a primary responsibility of government, and the Armed Forces serve as a reliable guarantee of our national security, the peaceful and orderly lives of our people and Russia’s stable and steady development.
We can see the difficult international situation and the threats posed by current challenges, such as the erosion of the arms control system and NATO’s military activities. And yet, Russia’s appeals to build a system of equal and indivisible security that would reliably defend all countries, remain unanswered.
Our country is always open to a direct and honest dialogue and ready to search for diplomatic solutions to the most complicated issues. But I want to repeat that Russia’s interests and the security of our people are an indisputable priority. So, we will continue to strengthen and modernise our Army and Navy, striving to increase their effectiveness, so they are fitted out with the most cutting-edge equipment.
We have done a lot over the previous years to carry out the quality modernisation of the Armed Forces. They have gained in mobility and acquired new combat experience. During the operation in Syria, they proved in practice that they are capable of accomplishing the most difficult tasks.
The training and coordination of army units and formations have greatly improved. This is clearly shown by snap drills, manoeuvres and regular large-scale military exercises, including jointly with our allies, as well as responsible peacekeeping operations.
We have weapons that are second to none in the world and they are operational. We will continue to develop promising weapon systems, including hypersonic weapons and those based on new physical principles, and expand the use of advanced digital technology and elements of artificial intelligence. Complexes like these are weapons of the future, which can boost the potential of our Armed Forces several-fold.
At the same time, we understand that the most advanced equipment is operated by people. It is very important that they have the latest knowledge and excellent training; however, personal qualities of Russian soldiers, such as patriotism, endurance, selflessness and mutual assistance have always – at all times – been of utmost importance.
The role of a commander in developing these features is indispensable. Our officers are not only the core of our Army and Navy – these people are sincerely devoted to Russia and their military duty. I thank you for your faithful and honest service to our Motherland, for the responsible training of personnel, for fulfilling your duties conscientiously and with ultimate dedication, and holding sacred the spirit and character of the national military school.
As Supreme Commander-in-Chief, I have confidence in you, Russian soldiers and officers, in your high professionalism, bravery and reliability, that you will guard the peace of our people, and stand up for the national interests of our great country.
I wish you good health and every success in your service. I want to extend the best wishes to your families and friends.
Again, my sincere greetings to you on this holiday!