President Vladimir Putin:
Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, dear veterans,
This year marks sixty-five years since the founding of the Normandy-Nieman Regiment. This is an important date for us and for our French friends.
Today, in the presence and with the participation of the President of France, we unveil this monument to a legendary regiment. We unveil this monument as a sign of our sincere gratitude towards the Russian and French soldiers and officers who fought shoulder to shoulder against Nazism.
Last year, a monument to the Normandy-Nieman Regiment was unveiled at Le Bourget, the airfield where a jubilant France welcomed its heroes in June 1945.
Not all of the French pilots were able to return to their homeland back then in 1945.
In Russia we remember well the uncompromising struggle against Nazism carried on by Free France and all the Resistance forces. We remember the courage shown by French patriots who rose up at a dramatic moment in their country’s history to defend the honour, freedom and dignity of France.
The French pilots showed that not only were they real aces in the air but they were also unbelievably brave, courageous and heroic people.
The entire battle chronicle of the Normandy-Nieman Regiment is filled with examples of heroism and self-sacrifice for the sake of a common goal, for the sake of Victory. This history, this page in our common history, defines the particular spirit of trust and mutual support that to this day distinguish relations between Russia and France.
Our fathers and grandfathers fought and vanquished this terrible enemy and gave the whole world a future. And on this day, it is the World War II veterans who are the most honoured participants in this ceremony.
I bow low before you.