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Greetings on Defender of the Fatherland Day

February 23, 2021, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin made a video address to congratulate veterans, the military and civilian personnel of the Armed Forces and all Russian citizens on this holiday.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrades, friends, dear veterans,

I would like to congratulate all of you on this holiday, a symbol of courage and loyalty to the Fatherland, which our people celebrate with pride and respect for all defenders of our home country, including those who are protecting the borders of Russia today.

Our most heartfelt gratitude goes out to our veterans, a generation of remarkable people who have taught us, their descendants, to win and to never give up.

We remember this message. We remember the heroism of Russian soldiers who fearlessly defended their homeland, standing up against the hardest blows of our enemies.

There are many unforgettable examples of our forefathers’ heroism in the centuries-long history of Russia, and this is why we have strong traditions of patriotism and a tradition of inseparable connection between the people, the state and their reliable defenders, the Army and the Navy. This union has been forged over many centuries. And it remains important and relevant to this day.

All of us bear a responsibility for our Fatherland, for its successful development. But this feeling has a special meaning for those who have chosen a military career. The foremost objective of their lives is to ensure the stability, sovereignty and national power of our country, and to defend society and each and every citizen of Russia.

It is not easy at all to measure up to the high requirements of the military profession and military duty. This is why military service has always been the choice of tough, courageous and strong-willed people. And we know, we are absolutely sure that such people are serving in our Armed Forces. You have proved this many times over, both during military exercises and in combat.

In this modern world we must be alert and ready to respond to the most complicated challenges, acting efficiently, resolutely and effectively. Our Army and Navy can do this. We are proud of their combat capability, training and skilful use of modern knowledge and the latest weapons.

Evidence of the strengthening prestige of our Armed Forces is the growing interest of our young people in military professions. Increasingly more young people view service by conscription as important for themselves and what the country needs. Many conscripts remain in the army or enrol at military schools, choosing the defence of the Fatherland as their lifetime profession.

I have no doubt that the majority of them make this choice by looking at their commanders. Officers are the backbone of the Army and Navy. Comrades, you are responsible not only for combat capability, interoperability and discipline, but also for the very spirit of military service, where team spirit and mutual understanding are truly invaluable. I know that our officers have always set and continue to set an example of high professionalism, chivalry, tenacity and honour.

Comrades, I would like to thank you, to thank all the military and civilian personnel of our Armed Forces for doing their military duty honourably.

Please accept my heartfelt greetings on this holiday. I would like to wish you health and all the very best.

February 23, 2021, The Kremlin, Moscow