Keeping up with friends can be hard, so it is always nice to see old companions enjoying a reunion.
Dropping into Berlusconi’s Milan villa after midnight, Putin, 62, stayed until nearly 3am before staggering out bleary eyed and heading home (we imagine).
Unfortunately, the cavalcade of blacked-out limos and security cars obscured any chance of a slightly inebriated departure shot.
Still, photographs by Italian news agency Ansa showed a smiling Putin greeted by “his old friend” Berlusconi, following an invite from the former Italian PM and confirmed by both leaders’ spokespeople.
Putin may have needed to relax following his seriously delayed meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier that day. The Chancellor is attempting – along with other western leaders – to corral Putin into agreeing to terms allowing the distribution of Russian natural-gas into Ukraine.
The summit was focused around the war-torn country, which has seen fighting between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian nationalists claim over 3,000 lives. The unsteady ceasefire agreed in September is already faltering.
Berlusconi has staunchly backed Putin following a series of sanctions imposed by the EU and US against Russia over its role in the Ukrainian conflict.
The Russian leader described talks with western politicians, who suspect Russia of covertly arming pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine, as promising but “full of misunderstandings”.
It’s a phrase Berlusconi himself is all too familiar with, having fought numerous legal battles in an attempt to clear his (grubby) name, most recently winning an appeal to overturn his conviction of engaging a minor in prostitution and then attempting to use his position to cover the offence.
His legal team successful argued the septuagenarian was unaware the girl in question was underage.
The two men have apparently been friends for years, exchanging “flashy” gifts and visiting each other’s luxury holiday homes on multiple occasions, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Despite Putin’s intention not to let an international summit get in the way of a good party, he was seen bright and early at 8am the following morning for a meeting with David Cameron, Merkel and other top EU leaders.
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