President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Comrades,
I would like to begin by welcoming you and congratulating you on receiving these state awards.
Together with colleagues from 16 other countries, you honourably fulfilled a difficult mission of an enormous significance, the mission of ensuring safety for Russian and international vessels in the Gulf of Aden. You have demonstrated professional competence and personal courage that our Navy servicemen have always been known for. Your conscientious service is a contribution to strengthening our national security, our national interests and our international authority. The professional, coherent, well-prepared operations carried out by warships of the Russian Navy allowed all merchant convoys to safely pass the perilous waters, which is a very good performance.
Your own experience tells you that the situation in the Gulf of Aden and by the coasts of Somalia remains quite complicated. Recently, I attended the G8 summit in Italy, where I met with the leaders of other major nations. Among various issues, we discussed the piracy problem and the importance of restoring peace and order in the region. In this regard, your input is extremely valuable and acknowledged by other nations which have their own interests and strive to ensure safety in this most troubled area.
Russia will undoubtedly keep meeting its obligations, especially since the situation, most regretfully, is not improving but rather deteriorating. The first 5 months of this year saw more hijacks than all of 2008. The piracy has been really causing immense damage to the maritime industry and adversely affecting the overall global commerce.
Russia will honour its international obligations under the UN Security Council resolution. In line with my instructions, warships of the Northern, Pacific, and Baltic Fleets will continue to escort merchant vessels. Our respective efforts will be closely coordinated with other nations – first and foremost, with EU member-countries, the United States, China, and India. I am certain that by joining forces, we will be able to effectively fight piracy both near the coasts of Somalia and globally.
The hardships of your service are well known. As the Commander-in-Chief, I therefore believe that my major duties are to ensure improvement in supplies to and equipment of the Navy, as well as in social protection of servicemen and their families. We will certainly address all of these issues by raising servicemen’s salaries, offering benefits to military units, ensuring comfortable both on- and off-duty conditions for Navy servicemen. As more financial resources become available, our efforts will intensify.
I would like to once again thank you for your service and to say that we are very proud of you. You have proven yet again that the Russian Navy is capable of carrying out the most difficult missions.
I think we can now move on to the awards ceremony.
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Comrades, I would like to once again congratulate you on your high state awards. You certainly deserve them. You have just made some very correct remarks as regards the specific position that is expected from us. In my opinion it is very important that this position has recently been taken by Russia. It is true that in our recent history there were some very uneasy times when, to speak frankly, we could not quite imagine that our Navy could meet such challenges. After all, these are universal problems that go beyond the protection of our own borders. Naturally, we do the latter properly. But these are already tasks which may only be accomplished by the world’s major sea powers, powers which have both a glorious history and the means to deal with these tasks.
Hence, I think such efforts should be continued to ensure that a normal regime of international law can triumph throughout the world, to ensure the security of civil courts and people who are involved in them, and to make the Russian Federation’s position on these issues respected, as that is a matter of our international prestige. Therefore you really have made a very important contribution to this work.
I would like to congratulate you and say that we will absolutely continue addressing these topics.