Vladimir Putin: We have decided to change the format of this meeting from a formal reception to a friendly talk. You all understand the reason why. That reason is the appalling tragedy of the Kursk nuclear submarine. With pained heart and with tears in our eyes, we are all watching the terrible events in the Barents Sea. Sailors are doing everything they can to rescue their comrades. Regrettably, it is not we but the events that determine the outcome – yet we will do everything in our power until the very last moment to rescue all those who can be rescued. We will fight for every life, and we will hope for the best.
I thank all those who stand by us in this tragedy we share. I thank the Church too, for your compassion and your prayers.
We must help the families of our sailors. It is a duty we all share. Their mothers, fathers, sisters, wives and children need our support and moral and material help. They need human compassion.