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Vladimir Putin spoke during a concert celebrating eight years since Crimea’s reunification with Russia at the Luzhniki Sports Centre in Moscow on Friday.
Putin said the “main goal and motive of the military operation that we launched in Donbass and Ukraine” was to liberate the people of Donbass from the “genocide” Ukraine was inflicting through years of “systemic shelling with artillery and bombing by aircraft.”
“The main goal and motive of the military operation that we launched in Donbass and Ukraine is to relieve these people of suffering, of this genocide,” Putin said. “At this point, I recall the words from the Holy Scripture: ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'”
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“It so happened that, by sheer coincidence, the start of the operation was same day as the birthday of one of our outstanding military leaders who was canonised – Fedor Ushakov,” Putin said. “He did not lose a single battle throughout his brilliant career. He once said that these thunderstorms would glorify Russia. This is how it was in his time; this is how it is today and will always be!”
You can watch the full speech with subtitles here (embedding is disabled).
Roughly 200,000 people were in attendance, according to Moscow authorities.
moscow authorities say that there are 95 thousand people inside the stadium & 100 thousand outside pic.twitter.com/mnuqLv98sV— Russians With Attitude (@RWApodcast) March 18, 2022
About 95 thousand people gathered at gala concert in Luzhniki satium to Day of reunification of Crimea with Russia pic.twitter.com/L5XfeasMjZ— ZOKA (@200_zoka) March 18, 2022
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vladimir zhoga's father is now speaking https://t.co/ZP4wCoQlkl— Russians With Attitude (@RWApodcast) March 18, 2022
Putin leaves the stage at Luzhniki to thunderous applause from 100s of 1000s pic.twitter.com/05ahmnfsDu— Joe Quinn (@SeosQuinn) March 18, 2022
Official translation via the Kremlin:
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: “We, the multi-ethnic nation of the Russian Federation, united by common fate on our land…” These are the first words of our fundamental law, the Russian Constitution. Each word has deep meaning and enormous significance.
On our land, united by common fate. This is what the people of Crimea and Sevastopol must have been thinking as they went to the referendum on March 18, 2014. They lived and continue to live on their land, and they wanted to have a common fate with their historical motherland, Russia. They had every right to it and they achieved their goal. Let’s congratulate them first because it is their holiday. Happy anniversary!
Over these years, Russia has done a great deal to help Crimea and Sevastopol grow. There were things that needed to be done that were not immediately obvious to the unaided eye. These were essential things such as gas and power supply, utility infrastructure, restoring the road network, and construction of new roads, motorways and bridges.
We needed to drag Crimea out of that humiliating position and state that Crimea and Sevastopol had been pushed into when they were part of another state that had only provided leftover financing to these territories.
There is more to it. The fact is we know what needs to be done next, how it needs to be done, and at what cost – and we will fulfil all these plans, absolutely.
These decisions are not even as important as the fact that the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol made the right choice when they put up a firm barrier against neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists. What was and is still happening on other territories is the best indication that they did the right thing.
People who lived and live in Donbass did not agree with this coup d’état, either. Several punitive military operations were instantly staged against them; they were besieged and subjected to systemic shelling with artillery and bombing by aircraft – and this is actually what is called “genocide.”
The main goal and motive of the military operation that we launched in Donbass and Ukraine is to relieve these people of suffering, of this genocide. At this point, I recall the words from the Holy Scripture: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” And we are seeing how heroically our military are fighting during this operation.
These words come from the Holy Scripture of Christianity, from what is cherished by those who profess this religion. But the bottom line is that this is a universal value for all nations and those of all religions in Russia, and primarily for our people. The best evidence of this is how our fellows are fighting and acting in this operation: shoulder to shoulder, helping and supporting each other. If they have to, they will cover each other with their bodies to protect their comrade from a bullet in the battlefield, as they would to save their brother. It has been a long time since we had such unity.
It so happened that, by sheer coincidence, the start of the operation was same day as the birthday of one of our outstanding military leaders who was canonised – Fedor Ushakov. He did not lose a single battle throughout his brilliant career. He once said that these thunderstorms would glorify Russia. This is how it was in his time; this is how it is today and will always be!
Russia’s oligarchs are fleeing to Israel and Putin is amassing total power.
If he manages to survive the sanctions onslaught and secure a victory in Ukraine, Russia is going to be in a remarkable position.
Russian priest: “Pornhub is closed to Russian users. Western civilization is turned off to us. Jesus, how hard did we need to pray before for it to be closed earlier?” pic.twitter.com/VKcmrV7R1x— Richard Hanania (@RichardHanania) March 12, 2022