The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, and former heads of government Silvio Berlusconi and Gerhard Schröder are the only EU politicians who have received Christmas and New Year’s well-wishes from Russian President Vladimir Putin this year.
Source: European Pravda referring to the statement of the Kremlin
Quote: “Despite the difficult international situation, relations between the countries have maintained a positive trend. The President of Russia also confirmed his intention to continue joint work on topical issues of the bilateral agenda,” the greeting to Orbán reads.
Details: Along with Orbán, Putin sent warmer messages to Alexander Lukashenko and Aleksandar Vučić, his Belarusian and Serbian counterparts and two of Moscow’s closest friends on the European continent.
“Thanks to close allied cooperation, Russia and Belarus have withstood the difficulties and trials of the past year with honour, and managed to effectively resist unprecedented political and sanction pressure,” the statement said.
Russia used Belarus as a base to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, and both countries are under international sanctions.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, now a senator and member of the coalition led by Giorgia Meloni, also received greetings.
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who was scandalously removed from his parliamentary post this summer because of his ties to Putin, was also on the greetings list.
In 2021, Putin sent his greetings to more than 10 heads of state and government of European countries, including Italy, Germany and France.