President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
Today is a special, momentous and, without exaggeration, historic day, a day of truth and justice.
I cannot help but go back to the time when the Soviet Union was formed, when Russia was creating modern Ukraine. It was Russia that created modern Ukraine, giving it significant swathes of land, historical lands of Russia, along with the people, who no one asked about where and how they want to live, how they see the future of their children, and in which country. The same thing happened when the Soviet Union broke apart. The elites decided everything among themselves, and no one asked millions of ordinary citizens anything.
Only now, only modern Russia has given the residents of the Lugansk People's Republic, the Donetsk People's Republic, Zaporozhye and Kherson the right to choose. People came to the referendum and made their choice to be with their historical homeland, Russia.
Just an episode from what happened two, three or four days ago. The elections were going on in Lugansk, and people were standing in line in the street waiting to get into the polling station. The artillery shelling began. A shell landed nearby, not far away, but no one left the line to the polling station. Amazing!
For decades, they have been trying to eradicate historical consciousness from these people, to destroy their traditions, to forbid them from speaking their native language, and to ban culture – nothing of that came to pass. These people carried the love for their historical homeland in their hearts and passed it along to their children. That is why we are saying that Russia is not just opening the doors of its native home to our brothers and sisters; it is opening its heart to them. Welcome home!
But we know whom we owe today and today's triumph to. We owe it to our heroic soldiers and officers, Donbass militia and volunteers. You and I are here today on Red Square, but they are not here at the parade. They are in the heat of the battle, heroically defending the choice that the people made several days ago. I know what I am talking about. Heroically is the word. So, as a sign of support and gratitude, and in recognition of their service, their heroism and self-sacrifice, I propose sending from here, from Red Square, a signal of our support, respect and admiration for their sacrifice and heroism. I propose doing it so loudly that they are able to hear our voice from Red Square, even from thousands of kilometres away. I propose giving them a triple “Hurrah.” Take a deep breath and go at my command on the count of three. One, two, three, go: Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
We will do everything to support our brothers and sisters in Zaporozhye, Kherson, Donetsk and Lugansk. We will do everything we can to ensure security and to improve safety in these territories for these people. We will do everything to revive the economy, to rebuild infrastructure, to build new schools and other educational institutions, hospitals and outpatient clinics.
We are now stronger because we are together. The truth is on our side, and the truth means strength, which means victory. Victory will be ours!
Thank you. Good luck.