Putin: ‘At such moments, I am a Lak, Dagestani, Chechen, Ingush, Russian, Tatar, Jew, Mordvin, Ossetian...’

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Security Council and commented on the progress of the special military operation in Ukraine, which he announced on February 24. According to him, Russian soldiers and officers are acting courageously as real heroes, fighting steadfastly, with full awareness of the rightness of their cause.

“Even after being wounded, soldiers and officers remain in the ranks, sacrifice themselves, their lives to save comrades and civilians. During the fighting, both our servicemen and the Donbass militia demonstrate really great heroism,” the head of the state declared.

Putin said that he still considers Russians and Ukrainians to be one people. He is not going to give up this belief:

“I am a Russian man, and, as they say, 'I have Ivans and Mashas in my blood', but when I see examples of such heroism as the feat of a young man — Nurmagomed Gadzhimagomedov, a native of Dagestan, a Lak by nationality, our other soldiers, I want to say: I am a Lak, I am a Dagestani, I am a Chechen, Ingush, Russian, Tatar, Jew, Mordvin, Ossetian. It is simply impossible to list all the more than 300 national and ethnic groups of Russia. I think you understand me. But I am proud that I am part of this world, part of the mighty, strong and multinational people of Russia. At the same time, I will never give up my belief that Russians and Ukrainians are one people. Even despite that some residents of Ukraine are intimidated, many are fooled by Nazi, nationalist propaganda, and someone consciously, of course, follow the path of Bandera,” he said.

According to Putin, there are neo-Nazis in Ukraine who mock prisoners.

“Nationalist and neo-Nazi formations, and among them, there are foreign mercenaries, including from the Middle East, are hiding behind civilians as a human shield. I have already said that there is absolutely objective data, photos of how they [nationalists] are deploying heavy military equipment in residential areas of cities. Together, they are acting in this way with the most extreme bandits <...> Our military note such facts when in the cities of the People's Republics of Donbass — in Severodonetsk, Lisichansk, others — residents of apartment buildings are driven to the middle floors of buildings, and windows and walls are broken in the lower floors, heavy equipment is put there — guns, tanks are driven, machine guns and snipers are placed on the roofs and on the upper floors. Only fascists fought like that, treated civilians so inhumanely when Soviet troops fought with them, including liberating the territory of Ukraine,” the president said.

Putin added that hundreds of foreigners are trying to leave the war zone. Some of them are taken prisoners:

“In fact, they are being held hostage, stalling for time. Or they offer to evacuate through Lviv, to Poland. That is, to drive through the entire war zone, putting them at risk. Our servicemen provided corridors in all conflict zones without exception, provided transport so that civilians and foreign citizens could travel to a safe place. I emphasise again, the nationalists do not allow this to be done,” Putin said.

The head of the state also touched upon the topic of payments to the families of the deceased. Their families will be paid unprecedented large sums — almost 7,5 million rubles:

“It is our duty to support the families of our dead and wounded comrades who fought for the safety of the Fatherland, for our people, for the people of Russia. All family members of servicemen who died during the special military operation in Ukraine will be transferred the insurance coverage provided by law and a one-time allowance will be provided — this is 7 million 421 thousand rubles. Monthly monetary compensation will also be paid to each family member of the deceased. But, in addition, I consider it necessary to establish an additional payment to all families of deceased servicemen of the Ministry of Defence, military personnel and employees of other law enforcement agencies involved in the operation in the amount of 5 million rubles. All servicemen wounded during the operation will also receive appropriate payments. I mean insurance and a one-time allowance for injury, wound or contusion. If a serviceman who served under contract is recognised unfit for military service due to injury, he will receive a one-time allowance in the amount of 2 million 968 thousand rubles, and in case of disability — monthly monetary compensation. All these measures are already provided for by law. At the same time, I also think that it is necessary to provide for additional payments to servicemen of the Ministry of Defence, military personnel and employees of other law enforcement agencies participating in the operation and injured — 3 million rubles each,” Putin said.

The president of the Russian Federation recalled what our soldiers are fighting for, for Russia, for a peaceful life for the citizens of Donbass, for the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine:

“So that no 'anti-Russia', created by the West right at our borders for years, threatens us, including with nuclear weapons, as it has been doing recently. Our people are proud of our Armed Forces,” Putin said.

According to him, the special operation in Ukraine is proceeding in strict accordance with the schedule, according to plan. All tasks are successfully solved.

The special military operation lasts already for eight days. The second round of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations have taken place today.

Tatyana Dyomina