On the occasion of the Russian memorial day “Special Operations Forces Day” on 27 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated the personnel of Russia’s Special Operations Forces on their professional holiday, and thanked the soldiers for the annexation of Crimea and the combat in Syria.
“Five years ago, Special Operations Forces fighters and commanders did their utmost to keep the peace in Crimea and Sevastopol,” TASS cites Putin as saying.
The Russian president said that Crimeans “were protected from violence and from vigilantes, so that no one prevented the citizens from making a free, independent choice at the historical referendum”.
In Putin’s opinion, the Special Operations Forces “made a huge contribution to the defeat of terrorist groups and the liberation of the Syrian land from bandits”.
Russia has been commemorating Special Operations Forces Day since 2015. The presidential decree to establish this memorial day lacks a written motivation, but the media connects it with the developments that took place on 27 February 2014 in Crimea.
In February 2014, armed persons without identifying insignias appeared on the Crimean peninsula and restrained the local Ukrainian troops. Later Putin admitted that these had been members of Russia’s Armed Forces.