President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, friends, veterans,
I welcome and congratulate you on Defender of the Fatherland Day.
We are meeting on the eve of the holiday that has been observed on a truly national scale for many decades. On this day, the whole of our enormous country honours service members, civilian personnel and veterans of the Armed Forces. The respect in society for military service is based on a deep understanding of its great importance, sincere gratitude for the unwavering defence of peaceful life and the people’s memory of great victories achieved through the bravery and valour of our soldiers and officers, as well as the daring and talent of our commanders.
We take pride in the heroic deeds of the warriors who defeated the enemy on Lake Chudskoye, near Poltava, at Borodino and, of course, in the great battles of the Great Patriotic War. Their self-sacrifice, strength of spirit and steadfast refusal to yield to the enemy serve as an eternal example of sacred loyalty to the Fatherland.
Today’s generation of soldiers, sailors and officers serve Russia with the same sense of duty and devotion. Our warriors keep faith with the noble traditions of our Army and Navy, the traditions of valour and courage, and demonstrate mastery of the latest advances in the art of warfare. They have chosen a difficult, even harsh, profession that requires strict discipline, bravery, responsibility and, to be frank, willingness to sacrifice their lives for the Fatherland and their brothers in arms. Love for our native land is one of the defining qualities of Russian service members and everyone who dedicates their lives to military service and upholds the values of true patriotism every day. How could it be any different? After all, what you do is defend your Motherland.
Thank you for upholding your oath and honourably performing your duty.
Comrade officers, Russia is a peace-loving nation. We pursue a responsible foreign policy and strive to strengthen international stability. But we are well aware that the modern world is complex and discordant, that there are still many unresolved conflicts, challenges, and threats. Therefore, providing for the security of Russia and our citizens remains the absolute priority for us.
We will continue to strengthen the country’s defence capability, and develop and improve the Armed Forces. In recent years, their combat capabilities, training, and cohesion in action have increased significantly. This is confirmed not only by large-scale exercises, but also in combat conditions, in particular during the antiterrorist operation in Syria. Our soldiers act boldly, decisively and efficiently as they liberate Syrian territory from terrorists and save civilians. They have shown their best qualities in Syria, and they have defended the interests of our country.
As you know, the focus of our attention is on equipping troops with the latest weapons and modern means of command and control. Our promising weapon prototypes have no analogues in the world. In any case, they have no analogues yet, and I think this will remain true for a long time to come. This is the result of systematic and targeted measures of the state and the tremendous, tireless efforts of researchers and designers in the defence industry. Their unique achievements are the foundation for the successful development of the Army and Navy for decades to come, and as such, for the security and peace of Russia, and our dynamic progress.
Friends, in all the plans and decisions concerning the future of the Armed Forces, without exception, we rely on the officer corps, its professionalism, experience, and tenacity. And as Supreme Commander-in-Chief I always have confidence in you, comrade officers!
Once again, I would like to congratulate all of Russia's service members and veterans on the upcoming holiday. I wish you and your loved ones health, happiness and well-being.
Thank you for your service.