Gala reception to mark Defender of the Fatherland Day 2016-02-20 19:00:00 The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin attended a gala reception at the State Kremlin Palace to mark Defender of the Fatherland Day. The President congratulated veterans and armed forces servicemen and civilian personnel on the upcoming holiday. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrades, friends, I would like to congratulate the military and civilian personnel of our armed forces and our honoured veterans on the upcoming Defender of the Fatherland Day. On this day, we honour those who chose the demanding and responsible military career, who protect the peaceful life of our citizens and the security of our Motherland. This holiday epitomises the great age-long history of the Russian army. For years, it has served as a reliable stronghold of the state, a guarantor of the country’s stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity, a symbol of its national dignity and power. Our people have always been proud of their defenders – their military art, valour and outstanding victories. The heroes of Poltava, Borodino, Stalingrad and great many legendary battles gave up their lives for their homeland and shaped the future of Russia with their persistence, courage, willpower and heroism. Our officers and men gave up their lives to help protect the freedom and independence of other peoples, carried out complicated peacekeeping missions, took part in relief efforts following natural disasters and saved people in emergencies. It is a great honour and responsibility to serve in the Armed Forces with such great traditions. I am certain that the current generation of Russian warriors are well aware of this. Just as their predecessors, they bear the noble title of defender of the Fatherland with dignity. Comrades, The Armed Forces take up crucially important missions to ensure our national interests. I would like to thank the leadership of the Defence Ministry and the Armed Forces personnel for their honest and dedicated service. The military skills of our servicemen are being perfected now in the combat operation in Syria. As they fight in this Middle Eastern country, our officers and men protect the interests of the Russian Federation, destroying militants who openly call our Motherland their enemy and do not conceal their plans to expand onto the territory of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The combat action of the pilots of our Aerospace Forces, sailors and servicemen of the support units deserve the highest acclaim. In complicated conditions they are helping the Syrian government army and other participants in the anti-terrorist struggle to rout militants, to save peaceful citizens from violence, barbarity and outrage. We have always tried to resolve all arguments only by political and diplomatic means and on many occasions have helped to stabilise the situation in various countries and regions of the world and to settle violent conflicts. We will strive for this now as well. At the same time, our Armed Forces should always be prepared to quickly and adequately respond to potential threats and to stifle any provocation or aggression against Russia. We have taken a series of major steps lately to strengthen our army and navy. Every year the capabilities of our Aerospace Forces and Navy, and the potential of our strategic deterrence have been growing, and our units in key strategic areas have been enhanced. The level of operational and combat readiness of our troops is growing, with the introduction of the latest communication and control devices. Units and forces are being supplied with the latest samples of armaments and equipment on a regular basis, while the Russian military-industrial complex is trained to design and produce up-to-date weapons systems. The strengthening and development of our Armed Forces and Russia’s entire military organisation will always remain a key task of the state. In implementing this goal, we rely on the proactive stance of the officer corps. As he first created a regular army, in his army regulations Peter the Great noted the special status and lofty duty of a military commander. Today, remaining true to their calling and oath of allegiance, Russian officers serve as a tower of strength for our army. The training of our personnel and their education in the spirit of patriotism and responsibility for Russia’ future depends on your professionalism and experience. Friends, I would like to wish you every success in your service. I am certain that you can always rely on the support of your near and dear ones and of our entire country, of the entire Russian society. My congratulations on the upcoming holiday. Thank you for your attention.