Putin speaks to thousands of Russians about the military operation in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 18 attended a rally in Moscow to mark the 8th anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Tens of thousands of Russians were present at the national stadium, holding the Russian flag. Speaking on stage, Putin said of the military operation in Ukraine: “We know what to do, how to do it. And we will definitely complete the plan.”

“To rescue people from suffering, from genocide, that is the main purpose of the military operation that we launch in the Donbass and Ukraine,” Putin said.

Putin mentioned that national unity is at its strongest stage, as well as the unity of Russian soldiers.

“They stood side by side, supported each other and when necessary, were ready to use their own bodies to cover each other. This is a unity that we have not seen for a long time,” Putin told the crowd. Many Russian-language banners appeared at the event with the letter “Z” – the symbol that appeared on the vehicles of the country’s army during the operation in Ukraine.

The event lasted for 1 hour and 30 minutes and featured musical performances and speeches by a number of high-ranking Russian figures.

This is the first time Putin has appeared at a public event since launching a special military operation in Ukraine on February 24.

On March 17, when asked about whether Putin would go to the front lines or visit the hospital to visit wounded soldiers, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that President Putin did not have these plans.

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