"Welcome to all who have already arrived in Russia, and to those who are planning to take part in this landmark international event — the FIFA World Cup. It is with immense joy and a great honor that we receive representatives of the great football family. We want this event to be a celebration, filled with passion and emotions," Putin said in a video address.
"We have done our best to ensure that all of our guests – the athletes, the staff and, of course, the fans – feel at home in Russia… Learning about its identity and culture, its unique history and natural diversity; its hospitable, sincere and friendly people," Putin said.
"We have opened both our country and our hearts to the world," he added.
Russia's first FIFA World Cup Finals will kick off on June 14 and will be held at 12 stadiums across 11 cities.