MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday sent a New Year’s greeting to US counterpart Barack Obama, saying the two countries share mutual responsibility to ensure world peace.
In a statement showing Putin’s New Year’s messages to heads of state across the world, the Russian leader addressed Obama despite the crisis in US-Russian relations over Ukraine, saying the “Russian-American partnership could have been developing successfully.”
Putin said the coming year will mark 70 years since the end of World War II when countries united against Adolf Hitler.
“This historic date is a reminder of the responsibilities of Russia and the US for supporting peace and international stability, their unique role in countering global challenges and threats,” the statement said.
Obama in recent interviews has said that while many believed Putin fooled the world with his quick Crimea annexation, he is in fact looking weak now that the Russian economy is suffering the consequences of sanctions.
“I’d sense that at least outside of Russia, maybe some people are thinking what Putin did wasn’t so smart,” Obama told US radio NPR this week.
The list of Putin’s greetings spans from Abkhazia – a breakaway region of Georgia that Moscow recognizes as independent – to Japan.
Putin also sent regards to several individuals no longer in office, including Silvio Berlusconi, George Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy.
Moscow’s relations with most Western countries, particularly former Cold War adversary the United States, have plunged to a post-Soviet low as the West accuses the Kremlin of sending troops into Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting with Kiev’s forces since April.