President Vladimir Putin: First of all, I asked you to gather here today to talk once again about the military exercises, and in general about the development of our air force and the Armed Forces as a whole. I especially wanted to discuss this with you – skilled, serving officers of the Armed Forces – rather than high-ranking four-star generals, wich is a different thing. This gathering will allow us to do just that. Afterwards, we will have one-on-one discussions of three-five minutes, in an office not far from here.
Secondly, I wanted to thank you once again for the excellent preparation and execution of both the aviation and naval exercises. As I already said, of course today I would have liked to meet also with the naval officers who took part in the exercises. Unfortunately, they are working and were unable to come. In three days after the exercises, literaly immediately, they went to sea in two fleets, to participate in other exercises. Military exercises of this kind and this scale have not been carried out for more than 20 years. Both the Northern and the Baltic Fleets took part in these exercises.
On this theme, I would like to note that it is only through constant self-improvement, and working to improve one's skills that our army and navy will attain the necessary level required by today's world. More than reviving it, it is a question of creating a modern army that will be serviceable in the future. If the army and navy of a country do not have a future, neither does the country itself. Any country, but especially one as large, and with well-defined national interests such as Russia, must be protected.
In sum, I want to thank you once again, and to say that I observed harmonious coordination by plane crews, excellent work by pilots of naval aircraft and sailors, the successful launching of rockets including new weapons such as strategic and ballistic missiles, with my own eyes. All this is proof that both profound and positive changes are taking place in our army.