Vladimir Putin: Dear compatriots!
These past few days we have lived through a terrible experience. All our thoughts were with the people who found themselves in the hands of armed scum. We all hoped for their release, but every one of us realised we should be prepared for the worst.
Early this morning a hostage-release operation was carried out. An almost impossible thing was accomplished – the lives of hundreds upon hundreds of people were saved. We proved that Russia cannot be brought to its knees.
But now I wish to address above all the families and close ones of those who died.
We were unable to save everyone.
Please forgive us.
The memory of the victims must unite all of us.
I thank all the citizens of Russia for their unity and self-control. My special thanks are due to those who took part in releasing the hostages. Above all to the staff of the special units who unhesitatingly and at the risk of their lives fought to save others.
We are also grateful to our friends throughout the world for their moral and practical support in the fight against a common enemy. This enemy is strong and dangerous, inhuman and brutal. It is international terrorism. As long as it remains unbeaten, people can not feel safe anywhere in the world. But it must and will be beaten.
Today I talked with one of the victims at the hospital. He said: “I felt no fear: there was the feeling the terrorists had no future anyway.”
And that is the truth.
They have no future.