You will have strength to persevere - Russian ambassador
Aleksandr Chepurin says his country supports Serbia's neutral status, and a peaceful solution to the Kosovo problem, while respecting international law.Source: Tanjug
He said this late on Thursday at the Russian embassy in Belgrade, where Defender of the Fatherland Day was celebrated.
"Serbia will have enough strength and patience to withstand temptations," said Chepurin during a ceremony attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
According to the ambassador, the closeness of the positions of Russia and Serbia was confirmed by the most recent meeting and talks between Vucic and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Chepurin also said that Russia welcomes improvement of Serbia's good relations with all countries, if it corresponds to its interests.
"We gathered today to mark Defender of the Fatherland Day, for the seventh time I am welcoming it along with many of you. Thank you for such an honor," said Chepurin.
He stressed that Russia and Serbia have had to defend their independence and sovereignty repeatedly, and that it was precisely this that formed the character of the peoples of the two countries.
"We have strong armies, but the most important Russian and Serbian weapon is the courage of the soldiers and officers, the strength of their spirit, that is the axiom. Members of the armed forces of Russia and Serbia are connected by the current tasks. Our military and military-technical cooperation is actively developing," said Chepurin.
According to him, today's key task of Russia is - besides ensuring security and an energetic development of the economy - increasing the standard of living.
12 national projects are aimed at achieving this, which will bring the country to an absolutely new level in six years, said Chepurin, adding that this was the essence of President Vladimir Putin's recent address to the Federal Assembly.
The ambassador also recalled that the upcoming fall marks 75 years since Belgrade was freed from fascist occupation jointly. "It is important to jointly restore the Memorial Cemetery of the Liberators of Belgrade, where 1,395 fighters of the National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia and 1,818 members of the Red Army lie buried," said Chepurin, and called for the strengthening of the brotherhood between the Russian and Serbian people, as well as the development of cooperation between their armed forces.
The ceremony was attended by Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik, Serbian government ministers Aleksandar Vulin, Zoran Djordjevic and Nenad Popovic, as well as Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej.
The ceremony, organized by Chepurin and Russian Military Attache Colonel Andrei Sobakin, began with the sounding of the national anthems of Russia and Serbia.
This holiday, established in memory of the day when the nascent Red Army, formed on February 23, 1918, repelled an attempted German invasion of St. Peterburg, is celebrated in all the countries of the former USSR.