Presenting officers appointed to senior command positions 2014-03-28 14:40:00 The Kremlin, Moscow Officers appointed to senior command positions were presented and had their senior military (special) titles conferred at a ceremony held in the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St George Hall. Appointed to senior command positions were officers from the Defence Ministry, Interior Ministry, Emergency Situations Ministry, Federal Security Service, Foreign Intelligence Service, Federal Drug Control Service, Federal Corrections Service, and Investigative Committee. * * * President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, I want to open this ceremony today by first of all congratulating you on your new appointments and new military and special titles. I wish you success in your work and in resolving the responsible and complex tasks related to guaranteeing Russia’s national security and defence capability. The recent events in Crimea have been just one such big test for us. They have shown our Armed Forces’ new quality and possibilities and demonstrated the personnel’s high moral spirit. I thank the commanders and personnel of the Black Sea Fleet and other units stationed in Crimea for their firmness and calm, personal courage, and well-organised professional action that made it possible to prevent provocations, avoid bloodshed, and ensure the referendum takes place in a peaceful and free manner. We now have a lot of work to do to modernise the military infrastructure in Crimea. We also need to complete the process of setting up local branches of the Interior Ministry, Emergency Situations Ministry, Federal Corrections Service, Federal Security Service, Investigative Committee, and the Federal Drug Control Service in Crimea and Sevastopol. I also note the need to implement rapidly the decision to revive the Nakhimov Black Sea Higher Naval School, and set up a Presidential cadet college in Sevastopol. Let me say again that we must make maximum use of the professionals who served in Ukrainian units stationed in Crimea or worked in the law enforcement and other special agencies, performed their duties in worthy fashion, and have decided that they want to serve Russia. They will keep their military titles and their length of service, and their education qualifications will be recognised. Their service pay and social status will be brought into line with Russian law. The amounts we pay here are around four times higher than what they pay in Ukraine. The Russian Federation Government will make the relevant decisions on all issues concerning payment of pensions and military service pay over the coming days. At the same time, we respect the choice of Ukrainian servicemen and law enforcement and security officers who wish to return to Ukraine. We must treat these people and their families with all the proper decency and dignity that the traditions of military honour dictate. Comrades, We must continue our steady efforts to build up and strengthen all key components for guaranteeing Russia’s security and sovereignty, and this concerns above all the Armed Forces. Implementation of the 2013 defence procurement programme has given the armed forces more modern arms and equipment. At the same time, the intensity and quality of military training have improved too. This is reflected in the results of the comprehensive snap inspections carried out, including the recent inspections that took place in the Western and Central military districts. Overall, a total of more than 3,000 exercises of various types were held last year. This autumn, we will hold another strategic military exercise – Vostok 2014, which will give us the chance to put to the test the use of combined forces made up of personnel from different branches of the armed forces, and with forces from other security agencies taking part too. We also plan to continue developing our armed forces’ different combat units, including in the Arctic region. Comrades, The law enforcement agencies and intelligence services also play a big part in ensuring our country’s overall security. We noted at the Interior Ministry Board meeting that we must consolidate the positive results achieved over recent years. We must build on this base so as to increase the number of crimes solved and make real progress in important areas such as fighting extremism, economic crimes, traffic safety, and keeping law and order in public places and public gatherings. The Federal Security Service must put the main emphasis on preventing terrorist threats. Last year, 82 terrorism-related crimes were prevented, including 13 terrorist attacks. 278 gunmen were neutralised, including 43 heads of armed groups. I ask you to continue working in this active and initiative-taking way. You should make use of the experience in preventive measures that you built up while ensuring security at the Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, and work closely with the other security services under the National Anti-Terrorism Committee’s coordination. Counterintelligence work also requires serious attention. The FSB [Federal Security Service] Border Guard Service also must continue the work to strengthen the entire length of our state borders. From the Foreign Intelligence Service I expect timely assessments of potential foreign threats to Russia’s security and concrete proposals on how to neutralise such threats. The Investigative Committee’s priority task is to ensure a solid evidence base for cases under investigation, especially serious and very serious crimes that are in the public eye. There are high demands on the personnel of the Federal Corrections Service. It is important to ensure that detention conditions for prisoners meet accepted standards, improve the security system at the facilities under your control, ensure respect for the law and maintain law and order there. The Federal Drug Control Service must be more active in detecting and suppressing drug trafficking channels and destroying the drug distribution networks. The Emergency Situations Ministry is responsible for comprehensive protection of our people in emergency situations. With the summer now approaching, you need to carry out serious work to prevent forest fires and ensure that your personnel and equipment are ready. You also need to keep in mind the serious consequences of last year’s floods in Siberia and the Far East. We need the most accurate possible forecasts of what the situation will be like this year, so as to prepare better for any potential risks. The Special Facilities Service has particular responsibilities related above all to ensuring stable operation of government bodies in emergencies. I count on your professional training and competent work. Comrades, in conclusion, I congratulate you once more on your new appointments and titles. I am sure that you will do everything possible to carry out your duties to the best of your effort. I wish you good health and success. <…> Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Mr President, In accordance with your instruction, the organised withdrawal of Ukrainian army units wishing to remain with the Ukrainian armed forces has now been completed. State emblems and flags on all ships and at all units that have joined the Russian armed forces have all been changed now too. We made sure that there were no cases of insulting or disrespectful treatment of Ukrainian state symbols. I ask your permission to begin handing over Ukrainian arms and military hardware. Vladimir Putin: You are referring to ships and aircraft? Sergei Shoigu: Yes. Vladimir Putin: Yes, I agree. Carry it out. Sergei Shoigu: I will. Vladimir Putin: Comrades, Let me congratulate you again on your new appointments and military titles. I am sure that you will do everything within your power to ensure that our people know that they are fully protected, and that the armed forces, intelligence services and law enforcement agencies are up to the tasks that society places before them. I wish you success. Thank you very much for your service.