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Meeting with families of service personnel who died in the special military operation

January 7, 2024, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

On Christmas Eve, Vladimir Putin met in Novo-Ogaryovo with family members of service personnel who died in the course of the special military operation.

Participants in the meeting shared, among other things, their impressions of the visit to the stables located on the territory of the Presidential residence near Moscow earlier in the day. A special leisure program was also organised for them in Moscow during the New Year holidays.

After a thorough conversation, Vladimir Putin invited the families of the SMO heroes to a festive dinner. Later, they attended a Christmas service together at the Church of the Icon of Our Saviour Not Made by Hands.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening!

First of all, greetings to you all. This meeting is taking place on the eve of Christmas. I have already met some of you, and we have agreed that we will see each other again. And as we agreed, we are meeting again.

Christmas is one of the warmest [holidays]. Just as we celebrate the New Year in Russia, Christmas is also celebrated as a family holiday. Maybe it is even more family-oriented than the New Year. Again, it is a warm, cordial, heart-warming holiday, one of Russia’s most favourite ones.

On this day people want to say something kind to one another, support each other in some way. Both Orthodox Christians, who represent the majority of Russia’s population, and members of our other religions – our traditional, brotherly religious denominations – congratulate Orthodox Christians, just as Christians congratulate their brothers – members of other religions – on their holidays.

Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that this is a holiday marked by a pronounced fraternal unity among the peoples of Russia. I congratulate you all on this warm and heartfelt holiday.

In this regard, I would like to note that, as you know, many of our men, our courageous, heroic men, the soldiers of Russia are defending right now the interests of our country with weapons in their hands, on this holiday. So, first of all, I would like for all of us here to congratulate everyone there on this holiday.

And secondly, I would like our meeting to be a clear and understandable signal to all my colleagues throughout the Russian Federation, and at all levels – a clear signal that my colleagues, I repeat, at every level of government and governance, should always be with you, so that you always feel that there are people around you who can support you, help you, and come to your aid if you need it. And life is complex, diverse – there are always instances, and they happen often, when you need someone’s support. I hope that this will be the case with you.

I congratulate you all once again and wish you all the best.

I will not talk now about very sensitive, maybe even difficult things on the eve of this holiday, things that concern your families. But I want to assure you once again that we will always be by your side.

I would ask the Father to say a few words about today’s event. Please.


January 7, 2024, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region