Russian President Vladimir Putin is using his New Year's message to highlight the country's current fight in Syria while commemorating the battles of World War II seven decades ago.

The recorded message was being televised just before midnight Thursday in each of Russia's nine time zones.

Putin sent holiday greetings to "our servicemen who are fighting international terrorism, making a stand for Russia's national interests, in the far abroad." Russian warplanes began bombing sorties in Syria on Sept, 30. At least two of its servicemen have been killed in the campaign.

He also noted that in 2015 Russia marked the defeat of Nazi Germany and said "the experience of our fathers and grandfathers, their unity in that difficult time and their strength of spirit is a great example for us."