Is Proud Of You
By Vladimir Putin
At a meeting in the Kremlin’s St George
Hall, Vladimir Putin presented state
decorations to service personnel and defence
industry specialists who distinguished
themselves in the performance of special
missions in the Syrian Arab Republic.
More than 700 officers and men of the
Aerospace Forces, the Ground Forces and the
Navy attended the ceremony, along with
representatives of the military-industrial
President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Comrade officers, friends,
like to welcome you – all the service personnel who
took part in the operation in Syria.
of you – pilots, sailors, service personnel
of control bodies, of special purpose units,
intelligence, communication and procurement,
military advisers – acted consistently and with
of special gratitude go to the female service
personnel. You serve alongside men, with persistence
and dignity. Your choice in life brings you our deep
you all for your dedication to our Fatherland.
is proud of you, of its soldiers and officers who
protect the interests of their homeland with a great
degree professionalism and courage.
remember what the situation was like in September
of 2015. Back then, a significant part
of the country was seized by terrorist groups,
and the situation was getting worse.
compliance with international law, at the request
of the legitimate government and the country’s
president, we made a decision to launch our military
operation. From the very start, we were very clear
about its goals: support of the Syrian army in its
lawful struggle with terrorist groups. Our actions
were also timed for the period of active assaults
against the terrorists. We stated clearly that we
did not intend to get involved in an internal Syrian
conflict. Only the Syrians themselves should seek
a final solution and decide their country’s future.
The main target of our operation was terrorism.
The struggle against international terrorism is
a fair and righteous cause. This is a struggle
against enemies of civilisation, against those who
bring barbarity and violence, trying to renounce
the great spiritual, humanitarian values that
the world rests on.
like to repeat that the main goal of our actions
in Syria was to stop the global evil and not to let
terrorism spread to Russia. And our country has
demonstrated its unquestionable leadership,
willpower and responsibility.
Regarding the results we have achieved. Your actions
and intense combat effort turned the situation
around. We did not let this terrorist tumour grow,
destroyed the bandits’ hiding places and munitions
depots and blocked oil smuggling routes that brought
the terrorists their main funding.
done a huge amount of work to support the lawful
Syrian authorities – this is what I spoke about when
addressing the United Nations on the organisation’s
70th anniversary. We strengthened their
armed forces, which are now capable of not only
holding back the terrorists, but also of conducting
assault operations against them. The Syrian army has
gained the strategic initiative and continues
clearing its land of terrorists.
The main thing is that we have created conditions
for the start of a peaceful process. We have managed
to achieve positive, constructive cooperation with
the United States of America and a number of other
countries, as well as with the responsible political
forces within Syria that truly wish to stop the war
and find the only possible political solution
to the conflict. It was you, Russian soldiers who
opened up the road to peace.
the ceasefire agreement was reached between
the opposition and government forces, the scope
of work for our aviation units was significantly
reduced. The number of sorties went down threefold
from 60–80 to 20–30 a day.
made the grouping we had created there excessive
in the military sense. The decision to withdraw
a significant part of our service personnel
and equipment was coordinated with the President
of Syria Bashar al-Assad, who was notified of our
plans in advance and supported them.
like to add that in our joint statement, Russia
and the United States stressed that the struggle
against terrorist organisations, recognised as such
by the UN, will continue. Meanwhile, the government
troops in Syria will not conduct any action against
the armed units of the Syrian opposition that
indicated their commitment to a ceasefire.
At the same time, I would like to stress that any
group violating the ceasefire will be taken off
the list provided by the United States, with all
the consequences that come with it.
connection, I would like to specify the tasks our
service personnel remaining in the Syrian Republic
will be working on.
repeat that the primary task is to monitor ceasefire
and create conditions for a political internal
dialogue in Syria.
bases in Syria are at Tartus and Khmeimim,
the service personnel there are reliably protected
from land, sea and air. All the components
of the deployed air defence system, including close
range Pantsir-F and long-range S-400 Triumph units
will be on regular duty.
like to note that we have significantly restored
the potential of the Syrian air defence forces
as well. All the parties concerned have been made
aware of this. We proceed from fundamental
international norms – nobody has the right
to violate the airspace of a sovereign country,
Syria in this case.
created together with the American side an efficient
mechanism to prevent air incidents, but all our
partners have been warned that our air defence
systems will be used against any target that we deem
to be threatening Russian service personnel. I want
to stress – any target.
of course continue to provide assistance
to the lawful Syrian government. This assistance is
comprehensive in nature and includes financial aid,
supplies of equipment and arms, assistance
in training and building Syrian armed forces,
reconnaissance support and assistance
to headquarters in planning operations. And finally,
direct support, I mean, the use of our space force
and strike and fighter aviation. The Russian forces
that remain in Syria are enough to ensure this.
continue to assist the Syrian army and authorities
in their fight against the so-called Islamic State,
Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups that have
been declared as such, as I have said, by the UN
Security Council. Our uncompromising attitude
to terrorism remains unchanged.
will the balance of forces be like after
the reduction of the Russian group? A balance would
Moreover, I am certain that with our support
and strengthening of the Syrian army, we will
shortly see the patriotic forces there achieve
success in their struggle against terrorism.
may know, fierce fighting is on around Palmyra
and on the approaches to the city. I hope this
treasure of the world civilisation, or whatever is
left of it after the bandits got there, would be
returned to the people of Syria and the whole world.
necessary, of course, Russia will be able to enhance
its group in the region in a matter of hours
to a size required for a specific situation
and to use all the options available.
would not want to do that. Military escalation is
not our choice. Therefore, we still count
on the common sense of both sides, on the adherence
by both the Syrian authorities and the opposition
to a peaceful process.
connection, I would like to note the position
of President Bashar al-Assad. We see his reserve,
his sincere striving for peace, his readiness
for compromise and dialogue. The very fact that we
withdrew part of our military group there against
the backdrop of negotiations on the Syrian
settlement that started in Geneva is an important
positive signal, and I am certain that all parties
to the Syrian conflict will duly appreciate it.
work and make every effort in coordination with our
partners to help establish peace in Syria, to rid
the long-suffering people of Syria of the terrorist
threat and help the Syrians restore their country.
have proved that our army and navy are strong,
modern and well equipped and our warriors are
steadfast, well-trained and hardened, capable
of resolving the most complicated large-scale tasks.
In the course of the anti-terrorist operation, you
have performed more than 9,000 operational sorties.
Mass strikes using high-precision Kalibr cruise
missiles with a range of 1,500 km were dealt
at terrorist facilities from our naval ships located
in two seas – the Caspian and the Mediterranean,
both from subsurface ships and a submarine. We are
proud of the professional actions of our navy.
long-range strategic aviation has also done a good
job. Thus, they used new air-based X-101 missiles
with a range of about 4,500 km. And finally, over
the short period in Syria, as I have said, we
deployed a modern and efficient air defence system
and developed cooperation between all the forces
and resources and organised administrative support
for the group. Our military transport aviation
and Navy support vessels have done well too.
In other words, all the most important support
issues, the organisation of our group in a remote
combat area were resolved competently
and in a timely manner, which again demonstrated
the enhanced quality of Russia’s Armed Forces.
also like to thank representatives
of the military-industrial complex: workers,
engineers and designers. The latest Russian weaponry
has passed the tests, and not at shooting ranges but
in real combat. This is the best and the most
experience will make it possible to introduce
necessary changes, to improve the efficiency
and reliability of the equipment, to create new
generation weaponry, and to improve the Armed Forces
and enhance their combat capability. Life itself has
shown that they are a reliable guarantee of our
should bear in mind the threats that appear when we
do not do things on time; we should remember
the lessons of history, including the tragic events
of the beginning of World War II and the Great
Patriotic War, the price we paid for mistakes
in military construction and planning
and the shortage in new military equipment.
Everything should be done on time, while weakness,
neglect and omissions are always dangerous.
The military operation in Syria certainly required
certain funds, however the main part of the funding
came from the Defence Ministry, their resources.
Some 33 billion rubles were earmarked
in the Ministry’s 2015 budget for military
exercises. We simply retargeted these funds
to support our group in Syria, and there is hardly
a better way of training and perfecting combat
skills than under real combat conditions. In this
sense, it is better to use motor operating time
and combat stock in combat than at a testing range.
You, professionals, know this better than anyone
Obviously, additional funds will be required
to restock our arsenals, equipment and ammunition,
including repairs of the equipment that was used
in Syria. I am sure these costs are reasonable
and necessary, because this was a chance to test
everything in combat, find faults and rectify them.
These costs help enhance our country’s defence
capability and resolve strategic and current tasks
to ensure Russia’s security. We need to do it now,
to avoid paying a much higher price later.
price is high, and I am not talking about money now.
Here in this hall are Yelena Peshkova, Valentina
Cheremisina, Irina Pozynich and Yulia Zhuravleva –
widows of our comrade officers who died fighting
terrorists. I know that for their families
and friends, the loss of Oleg, Ivan, Alexander
and Fedor is irreparable. We all take this as our
own loss. That is why I used your husbands’,
fathers’ and sons’ first names. I spoke not
as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief or President, but
as a grateful citizen of Russia who grieves over
this loss. We will remember their courage
and chivalry; we will remember them as real men
and courageous warriors.
The large-scale operation in Syria went on for more
than 5 months in a complicated region, far from
Russia, and you have done your duty with honour
by protecting the security of your country and your
people at faraway frontiers. The tasks you were set
have been generally met, troops are returning
to their regular deployment locations, returning
home, to Russia.
like to note here, for this audience
and for the entire country: Russia’s main agenda
today is that of peace. It has to do with developing
the economy in complicated conditions, with
maintaining and improving the wellbeing of our
people. However, without ensuring our security,
without creating a battle-ready, modern
and efficient Army and Navy we would not resolve
a single task. Moreover, the very existence
of a sovereign and independent Russia would not be
possible without it.
very symbolic that we are honouring you
in the legendary St George hall that holds
the history of Russia’s military glory along with
the names of its great sons. Everything here is
filled with the victorious spirit of Russian
warriors. Our officers and men have demonstrated yet
again that they are courageous, noble, strong-willed
warriors, true to their Fatherland
you for your service. I thank all the participants
of the military operation in Syria. Thank you.
me now to move on to the presentation of state
decorations. I will not be able to present them all
today. I will present them to some of you; however,
I assure you that we know how each one of you did
of the Russian Federation, Colonel Viktor Romanov:
Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,
me to thank you for all these high decorations
on behalf of the Aerospace Forces’ service members
carrying out missions in Syria. For my comrades
and me, the participation in this military operation
has become a true combat baptism. Many young people
passed through it, and this experience is
incomparable to anything else. Every time we took
off into the Syrian skies to destroy militants, we
fully understood that we were protecting not just
the Syrian people, but our Fatherland as well.
we continue the traditions of the Russian veterans –
our fathers and grandfathers. Our pilots have always
stood out for their strength of spirit, honour,
and high military and moral qualities. I want
to assure you, Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,
that the Aerospace Forces’ personnel are capable
of protecting our state, ensuring its security
and fulfilling all the objectives we are set.
Corporal, Intelligence Officer of the Rocket
Artillery Battery Squad of the Black Sea Fleet’s180th
Separate Naval Infantry Brigade (Marines) Oleg
On behalf of my comrades and myself, allow me
to thank you for your high assessment of our
contribution to the fight against international
remember this meeting at the Kremlin as a sign
of your trust and we want to assure you that we will
live up to that trust.
our army is powerful, efficient, and capable
of withstanding any enemy. I know from personal
experience that Russian weapons are the best
and most reliable; they have never let us down
proud to serve in the Russian Army. Our citizens can
be confident that we will channel all our energy
into protecting our Fatherland and do everything
to ensure our citizen’s peaceful life.
me to once again sincerely congratulate you all
on returning home and on receiving your state
speech, one of the award recipients just said –
and clearly, he was nervous, because this is
an atmosphere and situation we are not used to –
that they were proud to be serving in the Russian
Army. And Russia is proud of its army and of you.