While addressing veteran military commanders at the reception on the occasion of the Fatherland Defender's Day celebrated in Russia on February 23, the minister stated: "Certainly, the leadership of the country and of the defense ministry was relying on your assistance, experience and knowledge." The minister stressed: "Among the guests here there are those, who gloriously fought through the hardships of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) and by their unparalleled courage brought the great victory nearer. Those who proved their loyalty to the oath of allegiance and military duty while defending national interests in local wars and armed conflicts of the postwar period. Those who made significant contribution into development of the country's armed forces and ensured its military security on the borderline of the 20th and 21st centuries. That is why the combat and life experience accumulated by the senior generation of military professionals is invariably an important prerequisite of strengthening of defense capabilities of the state, increased fighting preparedness of the army and the Navy." On behalf of the Defense ministry's management Sergey Ivanov expressed gratitude to veterans for "their weighty spiritual support, active assistance provided to the leadership in the area of military construction, patriotic upbringing of the young generation of Russians." About 60 veteran military commanders attended the official dinner in the Defense Ministry on the occasion of the Fatherland Defenders' Day. Among them were Former USSR Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov, and Igor Sergeyev, former Russian defense minister and presently advisor to the Russian President.