Russian President Vladimir Putin gave matching rings to the heads of various republics formerly a part of the Soviet Union.
Putin made the symbolic gift to the heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States at a summit in St. Petersburg. Leaders at the summit received gold rings engraved with a New Year’s message.
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President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko reportedly put on his ring immediately.
Putin told the Russian media later that the summit focused on improving cooperation between the countries on issues such as defense and economic interests.
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Putin claimed in an interview with state television on Sunday that Moscow wants to negotiate, even as Ukrainian cities were hit with a barrage of missiles over the Christmas weekend.
“We are ready to negotiate with everyone involved about acceptable solutions, but that is up to them – we are not the ones refusing to negotiate, they are,” Putin said.
The claim was rebuffed by Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who said that “Putin needs to come back to reality.”