Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
I am happy to see you and welcome you to Moscow and to the Kremlin. First of all, I would like to express my admiration of the courage, professionalism and endurance of everyone who found themselves in the epicentre of events in the Zapadnaya mine.
The entire country felt for the miners in trouble. You faced an extremely tough ordeal. But you stood strong, you did not give in to despair or panic, and carried out your duty to the end.
Both the miners and their rescuers worked like a single team, supporting and helping each other – and this is why they prevailed.
There are lot of people worthy of mention today. But for obvious reasons, I will only mention a few names. Above all, Sergei Zhurkin and Viktor Zakharov. They united the group of miners, organised them and cleared an exit from the shaft. They supported the spirit of their colleagues.
The rescuers’ actions also deserve the highest praise. Above all, the military mine rescue units. Their units arrived at the mine just 35 minutes after the alarm, and, as everyone agrees, acted precisely and at an extremely high level. And all the technical decisions to deal with the accident, as the course of further events showed, were correct, non-standard and effective.
I would particularly like to mention the heroic work of the team of mineworkers led by Leonid Chorb. In less than 6 days they dug a tunnel of 62 metres to reach the trapped miners. And this is a month’s worth of digging.
At the same time, the tragedy at the Zapadnaya mine should be a serious lesson. Today, we must remember – and we have no right to forget – the dead. A specially created committee of the State Mining Technical Inspection Service of Russia should establish the reasons for the incident. But it is already clear now: we need to substantially increase control over technical safety in the industry, and also to continue modernising production and introducing new, safer equipment. And finally, we will increase the technical equipment of military mine rescue units, and strengthen them. Not to mention strengthening the industry.
In conclusion, I would like once again to give my sincere thanks to everyone who took part in the rescue operation, and helped with advice and actions.
You all showed your best human and professional qualities. Once again, you showed courage, heroism, and readiness to come to the rescue and fight for people’s lives to the very end.
Thank you very much. I congratulate you.
Friends, allow me to congratulate you once again.
We all know how you live, and how you work. In places where people have gone through difficult, painful, but necessary changes, the situation has changed. In places where this has not happened yet, problems have become greater than they were. This is the task of the ministry, the task of the Government, the task of the regions. But without the support of the centre, without the support of Moscow, such complex, large-scale problems cannot be solved. Let us solve them together. But today I would like to return to the reason why we are gathered here – to stress your personal contribution to resolving the situation that you encountered recently.
We have gathered here today to record your personal bravery and the bravery of your comrades. Team spirit, mutual help, support and self-sacrifice is what distinguishes our people. And the fact that you have once more proved this and clearly shown this is very important for us.
Thank you very much.