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Tear-Jerking Scenes of a Heroes' Welcome For Returning Victorious Russian Pilots (Video)



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March 17 was the day Russian military aircraft and their crews began flying back from Syria to a warm welcome by their families and the public.

Several of them received awards from the President and Supreme Commander in the Kremlin, including Aerospace Forces Commander Victor Bondarev.

<figcaption>Russians have a national genius for celebrations and rituals.  A lot of heart.</figcaption>
Russians have a national genius for celebrations and rituals. A lot of heart.

Here’s what he said to KP’s military correspondent in an exclusive interview:

- Victor Nicolayevich, when were you ordered to implement the order to withdraw our main forces from Syria?  

- As soon as the meeting in the Kremlin ended, the Defense Minister issued the order.

- How did the pilots and airmen feel about it?

- We are soldiers. We don’t question commands, we carry them out…

- Before the pilots left Kmeymim for home, Deputy Defense Secretary Nicolay Pankov handed out several awards … 

- I can’t say exactly how many awards were given, because in addition to the airmen, other servicemen and women, ground personnel and marines were recognized. Today I presented 242 awards. The Defense Minister will  present awards to about 600 people.

- Did helicopters also leave Syria?

- Yes, they will be transported by cargo aircraft. 

What is your overall impression of the air crews?

- Our pilots grew up over these five months of military operations. When I spoke to a wing leader I saw that this young captain is now a real pro, ready to carry out any order accurately and on time. 

And I was very moved by the families who came to meet our men, the shouts of joy from the children.  There were also locals who came to greet the pilots and celebrate with us.  It was a wonderful feeling.


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