President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: President Elbegdorj,
Dear veterans, dear friends,
I am very pleased to take part together with you in these celebrations marking the seventieth anniversary of the victory in the battle of Khalkhin Gol. This anniversary is very clearly an event of equal significance for Russia and Mongolia. We both remember this brief but cruel war, and the heroic events it inspired. We remember how Soviet and Mongolian forces fought for a just cause, selflessly defending their own peoples’ freedom. It is for this very reason that, as the President of Mongolia said just now, we consider unacceptable attempts to falsify history and change this victory’s essence.
Veterans of this historic battle are present here today. I want to thank you sincerely once again for your courage and steadfastness, and I want to pay tribute to all those who sacrificed their lives to prevent this act of aggression against our country and defend Mongolia’s territorial integrity.
The Kwantung Army suffered a resounding defeat in this battle. Troops led by outstanding commander Georgy Zhukov and Mongolian hero Marshal Choibalsan fought back all the attacks launched against them by an enemy superior in number. Back then, in 1939, our armies showed the whole world that they could overcome even as well-prepared an enemy as militarist Japan was at that time, and not just through the strength of their weapons, but through the strength of their brotherhood in arms.
The victory at Khalkhin Gol, as we know, changed the international political deal, convinced Japan not to enter the war against the Soviet Union on Nazi Germany’s side, and made it possible to redeploy large numbers of troops from the Far East to Moscow in 1941. These troops played a crucial part in defending our country’s capital and making it possible for the Soviet Army to launch a counter-offensive.
Next year, we will mark the 65th anniversary of victory. May 9 is a sacred day for everyone in Russia, and for Europe and the entire world this date marks the liberation from Nazism. This date is also honoured in Mongolia, where people have not forgotten the decisive role the Soviet Union played in defeating fascism.
Dear friends, dear veterans,
Today’s celebrations bear witness to our memory and respect for these heroic chapters in our history, these events that bind our peoples together. Our friendship that was forged in the battles at Khalkhin Gol has withstood the test of time, and today, 70 years on, we treasure it as much as ever. The sincere and trusting ties between our countries form a solid foundation on which we will continue to build up our good-neighbourly cooperation and develop the contacts between our peoples.
It was precisely for this future that the soldiers fought at Khalkhin Gol. They fought and they won, and we are immensely grateful to them for this.
On behalf of our country, I would like to congratulate all the veterans here today, and those who were not able to come here. I wish you all good health. We are proud of you. Your lives continue to serve as examples for everyone in Russia and Mongolia, examples of how to love and defend one’s motherland.