Russian president Vladimi Putin on Saturday (29 December) participated in a traditional ice-hockey match on Red Square, joining a team of celebrities which included Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and sports personalities. Putin's team won the match 14 - 10.
Putin had just finished a meeting with Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko in the Kremlin. Putin told reporters that he suggested to Lukashenka to join the match.
"Alexander Grigoryevich ... answered he should be home in Minsk to solve lots of issues, routine issues. There are always loads of them before the New Year," Putin said. "However, we struck a deal that we would play together and go skiing once we met."
After the talks President Lukashenko gave Putin salo (food of cured slabs of pork fat) and four sacks of potatoes as a New Year gift, according Belarusian presidential press secretary Natalya Eismont.
Speaking during a late night show "Makayenka, 9" on Belarus 1 television channel, Eismont said:
"Alexander Lukashenko presented Vladimir Putin not only with potatoes. In fact, as far as I know, the Russian president likes good salo," Eismont said. "Alexander Lukashenko knows about it and during his previous visit he brought salo..., the most delicious of course, the selected Belarusian salo."
Eismont said that potatoes were brought afterwards. "As far as I know, potatoes were particularly ordered, because some time ago, perhaps half jokingly, Alexander Lukashenko asked Vladimir Putin, what he would like to get from the Belarusian president, from our country, and in response it was said - what else should I ask from Belarus? Potatoes and salo."
According to her, four sacks of potatoes were brought to Moscow and they were of different varieties. "Some potatoes were for grilling, some for making hash browns, some for cooking them mashed, some for roasting and boiling. All of them were supplied with instructions," she said.
source: commonspace.eu with TASS (Moscow) and other agencies
photo: President Putin played ice-hockey on Red Square on Saturday, 29 December 2018 (picture courtesy of TASS news agency (Moscow)
The incident appears to have erupted after a 27-year-old resident of Kulakam village was reported to have been murdered.