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Vladimir Putin’s birthday present from the Belarusian president: a new tractor

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin received an unusual gift for his 70th birthday on Friday: a tractor.

As leaders of several ex-Soviet nations gathered at the Tsarist-era Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus presented Putin with a gift certificate for the vehicle. Tractors have been the pride of Belarusian industry since Soviet times.

Lukashenko, an autocratic leader who ruled the former Soviet nation with an iron fist for nearly three decades while cultivating a man of the people image, told reporters he used a model in his backyard similar to the one he gave Putin.

It’s unclear how the Russian leader responded to the gift, which Lukashenko’s office revealed.

Putin did not mention the gift in televised remarks at the start of the meeting when he spoke of the need to discuss ways to settle conflicts between ex-Soviet nations.

He also stressed the need to exchange information to fight terrorism, illegal drugs and other crimes.

Leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose alliance of ex-Soviet nations, have another rally to attend next week in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.



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