Putin celebrates Christmas with families of fallen soldiers
Russian President Vladimir Putin has celebrated Orthodox Christmas with the wives and children of soldiers who have lost their lives in the Ukraine conflict, according to the Kremlin’s official website.
Putin had a lengthy meeting with the families at his Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on Saturday evening and had dinner with them. Afterwards, they attended the Christmas service at the local church.
Christmas is one of the “warmest” and “most beloved” holidays in Russia, the president told his guests.
On January 7, Russian Orthodox Christians, who constitute the majority of the country’s population, offer greetings to each other as well as representatives of other faiths, and receive greetings from them, he said. “One can safely say that this holiday is characterized by a strongly-pronounced fraternal unity of the peoples of Russia.”
The president stressed that “many of our men, our courageous, heroic men, Russian warriors, even now, on this holiday, defend the interests of our country with arms in hand.”
He added that the meeting at Novo-Ogaryovo should serve as a “clear signal” to officials at all levels that the relatives of those who die fighting for the country should receive help whenever they need it.
“Now, on the eve of the holiday, I’m not going to talk about the very subtle, difficult issues concerning your families. But I want to assure you once again that we will always be by your side,” the president told the families.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the relatives of the fallen heroes spent the New Year’s holiday week in Moscow, where a special program, which included exhibitions, shows, and other events, was organized for them.