Vladimir Putin met with Artem Zhoga, the father of Vladimir Zhoga, commander of the Sparta battalion who was killed in Donbass. The President presented to Artem Zhoga the Star of the Hero of Russia awarded to his son posthumously.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zhoga, today is May 9, Victory Day. I present to you the Star of the Hero for your son. Sadly, he is no longer with us, he has departed our ranks, yet he lived a bright and beautiful life and died a hero, literally shielding with his body women and children, his countrymen, compatriots. He gave his life for the Motherland.
You have my condolences for the loss of your son, but I also congratulate you on raising a true hero, really. It is my wish that this Star of the Hero remains in your family forever.
Artem Zhoga: Thank you very much, Mr President.
Vladimir earned this decoration with all of his actions. The entire eight years – yes, it has been eight years already, he joined a militia on May 2, 2014, before that we used to help the guys who came to us, the Strelkov garrison. He devoted himself completely to the cause.
Indeed, how I raised him had an effect since I grew up when we all honoured our heroes and the memory of our grandfathers. My grandfather is a Great Patriotic War veteran, he finished the war in Koenigsberg as a senior sergeant, he was an artillery forward observer. Volodya, as it turned out, became a reconnaissance office too, not artillery, but а reconnaissance trooper, a battalion commander.
We will make every effort to see our cause through, so that victory is ours. We will win, we will do everything we need to. God willing, we will not lose more friends and family, so that the victory is much less costly. But victory will be ours regardless.
Thank you very much for your support. February 24 is a great day. Yes, it may be terrible in one respect because hostilities began, both civilians and soldiers are dying. Servicemen of the Russian Federation, our entire big country Russia, the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, the militias. But in another respect it was exactly this step, this day, this action, getting out of a terrible suspended situation, the resolution of this entire conflict. Thank you very much – I would like to say that on behalf of my battalion, of the 1st Army Corps [DPR], and all the people of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: If there had been any chance to resolve this problem through other, peaceful means, we would have certainly taken it. But we were not given a chance, there was no other option.
Our men are fighting courageously, heroically and professionally. All plans are being carried out. The result will be achieved. There is no doubt about it.
My congratulation to you on Victory Day and to your son on the Star of the Hero.
Artem Zhoga: Thank you. And to you as well.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.