Russian President Vladimir Putin has honored the officers of his country’s intelligence network hailing them as “unique people.” “To give up their life, their nearest and dearest and leave the country for many years, and to dedicate one’s life to the Fatherland, not everyone is capable of doing that,” said Putin, who is himself a former KGB officer.
Putin added that Russian intelligence officers are not like other people and have above normal characters, convictions, and qualities. “These are unique people. I wish them happiness and prosperity,” he said, noting that during his own service in the Soviet era he was involved with “undercover intelligence.”
According to his official biography, Putin was stationed in East Germany’s Dresden for the Soviet espionage service from 1985-1990. “Even before I’d finished my school studies, I already wanted to be an intelligence officer,” he said in his biography.
Meanwhile, Putin visited Crimea that rejoined Russia following a referendum in 2014. According to a statement released by the Kremlin, Putin visited the Artek holiday camp for young people which is located on the Black Sea shore.
The camp closed down after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 when it became part of Ukraine. After Crimea’s annexation it was renovated and reopened. “It wasn’t that long ago that Artek went through rather difficult times. But now it is being reborn, and it is reborn as an international holiday camp,” said Putin. Following Putin’s visit, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Kiev “considers this visit… to be a gross violation of the sovereignty of the State and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
Since Crimea’s return to Russia, the EU, the US and some other Western countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia over accusations that Moscow has been involved in a deadly crisis in Ukraine, which has so far killed more than 10,000 people. The Kremlin has, however, strongly rejected the accusations. Ukraine’s armed conflict broke out when Kiev launched military operations to crack down on pro-Russia forces in the eastern sector of the country.