The President congratulated Special Operations Forces’ personnel on their professional holiday.
“We will continue to work consistently to strengthen our Army and Navy. Our efforts in this area are strictly defensive and aimed at unconditionally ensuring Russia’s security and protecting its sovereignty and national interests,” the President noted, addressing the meeting.
Also, Vladimir Putin decorated Vladimir Kovtun with the Hero of Russia Star for his part in a special operation in Afghanistan.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, veterans,
Today you are celebrating the anniversary of your force, and I am happy to have this opportunity to extend my greetings to the commanders and personnel of the Special Operations Forces on your professional holiday. Please accept my congratulations.
But first of all I would like to express our gratitude to you and your comrades for your efforts, for your valour, courage and heroism and for the skilful and flawless accomplishment of your extremely demanding and important missions.
Of course, this is yet another opportunity to recall the events of the Great Patriotic War. A great number of special operations units had to be created at the beginning of the war due to the situation at the frontline.
Members of these units often went on their missions without proper training or special weapons. It is not surprising that the number of casualties was high.
My father fought in one of such units: 28 people were sent behind enemy lines. Only four of them returned.
But as the war moved forward, our special operations units improved their skills.
They delivered scathing blows to the enemy, destroying its headquarters and communications and gaining vital intelligence.
Our Spetsnaz troops fought courageously, gaining victory in many hot spots. The operation carried out by one of such groups in Afghanistan, which seized the latest shoulder-fired [Stinger] missile system and hence saved many lives of our pilots, men and officers, is a brilliant example of courage and daring worthy of going down in textbooks.
One of the men on that legendary group was Vladimir Kovtun. Today I will have the honour to present the Hero of Russia Gold Star medal to him, as well as state decorations to other deserving servicemen.
Veterans’ heroic deeds and competence serve as example for the current generation of the Special Operations Forces. In the most complicated and extraordinary situations you act with precision and confidence, demonstrate the power of justice and dignity, endurance and faith in your rightful cause.
Exactly five years ago, soldiers and commanders of the Special Operations Forces did their best to maintain peace in Crimea and Sevastopol, to protect people from violence and punitive squads so that nobody could prevent the public from making their free and independent choice in a historic referendum.
The Special Operations Forces are always at the frontline, where it is most difficult. This is exactly how you have been operating in Syria. You have made a huge contribution to defeating terrorist groups, liberate Syria from the militants and, when you had to, accepted an unequal battle and drew fire upon yourselves.
We will continue to work on consistent reinforcement and development of the Army and Navy. I have already said that our steps in this direction are purely defensive and intended to ensure Russia’s security, protection of its sovereignty and national interests.
Your unique experience will by all means be in demand during combat training of all troops and divisions. I am certain that you too will be constantly raising the bar for yourselves, improving your mastery, sharpening your tactical skills for special operations on the ground, in the air and at sea; successfully mastering the advanced and unique equipment produced by our defence industry and developed by Russian design bureaus.
If required, you will perform any task, carry out the most complicated and important combat orders, do everything possible and impossible to neutralise a threat against Russia whatever the source.
I am confident that serving in the Special Operations Forces will always be a goal for our best personnel and commanders and a dream for young boys and future defenders of the Fatherland.
Once again, congratulations on your professional holiday. I wish you to always come back home and come back with triumph. I wish you every success, good luck and all the best to you and your loved ones.