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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

28.02.2017

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's speech at Defender of the Fatherland Day reception

Excellences,

Ladies and gentlemen,

On 23 February, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation celebrate their main holiday - the Defender of the Fatherland Day. This day is important not only for those who wear or used to wear military insignia, but also for all those who care about the words "Motherland" and "duty".

Peace of our homes is guarded by those who serve in the country as well as abroad. Throughout history people in Russia respected military, which, according to Peter the Great, was "the first of the worldly affairs as the most important for the defense of the Fatherland". As the history teaches us – the stronger the army is, the safer is the world.

These words are particularly meaningful as the world situation has become ever more turbulent. Russia, as happened many times in history, has found itself at the crossroads of key trends, that largely shape the future of global development. The world situation continues to worsen - new dangerous tensions are adding to the long-standing conflicts. Our major concern is about the burst of terrorism and extremism in the Middle East and North Africa. The situation as regards European security is not good either. This worrying trend explains the deployment of  Russian soldiers not only in maintaining peace on our borders, but also abroad.

However strong military and diplomatic potential of any country might be, these problems cannot be solved single-handedly, unilaterally. It’s much more reasonable to strengthen international efforts in addressing common challenges. Such cooperation should take into account the complexity of modern world, its cultural and civilizational diversity.

Today the vast majority of our partners, including the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as our friends participating in the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and the Commonwealth of Independent States share such our approaches. By the way, 2017 is a jubilee year for the CSTO: it celebrates the 25th anniversary the Collective Security Treaty and 15th anniversary  of  creating the full-fledged regional collective security organization on its basis.

Recent experience strongly suggests that when the international community manages to overcome differences, the chances of success are drastically increasing. The examples are agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons, the establishment of the ceasefire in Syria.

Actions of the Russian Aerospace Force in response to the request of the legitimate Syrian government helped to reverse the crisis situation in the country, to narrow the space controlled by terrorists. Our actions in Syria demonstrated a new image of the Russian Armed Forces. Their comprehensive modernization is under way, including a large-scale army and navy rearmament. This constitutes a guarantee that Russia can be relied on, that we won’t let our friends and allies down, that we are able to make a worthy contribution to international efforts to maintain peace and security.

On this day, I would like to congratulate all the servicemen and their families, and all those who believe that to be their own holiday, too.

May I propose a toast to our health!




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