Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated US President-elect Donald Trump, rather than President Barack Obama, in his annual New Year’s greetings statement to foreign heads of state and government.
However, Putin did convey his seasonal greetings to Obama, his family and the American people in a separate statement earlier on Friday, while responding to the latest wave of US sanctions against Russia.
In his annual greetings statement, Putin expressed hope that after Trump is sworn in as US President on January 20, the two countries, “acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner, will be able to take real steps to restore the mechanisms of bilateral cooperation in various areas and take their interaction in the international arena to a whole new level.
“Major global and regional challenges that our countries have confronted in recent years clearly confirm that Russia-US relations are an important factor in ensuring stability and security in the modern world,” reads Putin’s direct message to Trump, released by the Kremlin on Friday.
In his annual greetings statement, Putin also congratulated Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Theresa May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others.