Numerous international friends, particularly the war veterans of the Soviet Union (the Russian Federation now), gave their wholehearted supports to the resistance war of the Vietnamese people. Thousands of them, including military advisors, stood side by side with the Vietnamese people and troops to fight for peace and independence.

General Phung Quang Thanh and Soviet Union war veterans at a meeting on December 4, 2012 

As a general through combat, General Thanh understood the great and valuable assistance that the Soviet Union people and troops gave to Vietnam. Therefore, he ordered relevant agencies of the Ministry of National Defense and the Air Force - Air Defense Service to invite Soviet Union war veterans to visit Vietnam twice a year on the occasions of the anniversaries for the Day of Southern Liberation and National Reunification (April 30) and the Foundation Day of the Vietnam People’s Army (December 22).

During their staying in Vietnam, the Soviet Union war veterans often visit their old battlefields, meet with Vietnamese war veterans, and reminisce their good memories.

In addition, General Phung Quang Thanh always hosted receptions for the Soviet Union war veterans and listened to their stories. Among the stories, Veteran Vladimir Ugolnikov, a radar advisor for the Hanoi Air Defense Area in the 1968-1969 period, told General Thanh about his memory when he guided and trained the Vietnamese radar troops amid the lack of modeling materials and interpreters. Veteran Mikalai Dzerhachou, a teacher with 50-year experience in teaching air defense lessons, praised the smartness and creativity of the Vietnamese soldiers. The veterans expressed their pride to make contribution to the great victory of the Vietnamese people.

General Thanh expressed his belief that Vietnam’s struggle for independence and freedom finished successfully partly thanks to the supports of the Soviet Union and China. He affirmed that numerous Soviet Union military experts and advisors have sacrificed their lives for Vietnam’s independence and freedom. The Vietnamese Party, State and people would never forget their contribution, he added.

When alive, the defense minister also always hoped to receive more war veterans to visit Vietnam, contributing to fostering the traditional good friendship between Vietnam and the Russian Federation, Belarus, and Ukraine (former members of the Soviet Union).

Translated by Trung Thanh