2020.01.02 16:00

Putin shuns Baltic states in holiday greetings, Nausėda responds in kind

RFE/RL, 2020.01.02 16:00

Russian President Vladimir Putin has left off Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, and the leaders of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, as well as Poland's head of state among the 41 national leaders to whom he extended New Year’s greetings on December 30.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov the same day said that additions to Putin’s greetings are possible. Zelensky and Putin later spoke by telephone on December 31 at the Ukrainian president's initiative.

"Not all the leaders have been included in the message. If it is necessary, information will be added," Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

Among those receiving the greeting were US President Donald Trump, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chinese President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Not forgotten on Putin's list were the self-proclaimed leaders of the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Meanwhile, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has sent a greeting to over a 100 foreign leaders. Putin wasn't among them.

"Understandably, [Russia] isn't on the list of Lithuania's strategic partners," said Antanas Bubnelis. the president's spokesman.